Lockdown: Helping your Autistic Child Adjust
The past year has been tough on us all, but for children who have autism, lockdown especially can be an incredibly confusing and distressing time. If you have or are taking care of a child who would usually be seeing a child behaviour specialist, here are some useful tips on how to help them during this turbulent and uncertain time.
Use simple facts
If you have an autistic child, you’ve probably already spoken to them about Covid-19 and the things that we need to do to stop the spread. If you need to speak to them again, use simple facts, eg. “Remember that there is still a bad virus going around. To stop catching it and giving it to other people, we need to keep washing our hands and cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze”. It’s important to be patient and sympathetic, but also be straight to the point and tell the child what they need to do.
Speak to them about changes in routine
Autistic people of all ages need routines to be able to function properly. Of course, due to lockdown and covid, people’s routines all over the world have dramatically changed. Tell your child that their routine may have changed, but now you are going to put a new routine together that they will get used to. This may cause them anxiety at first, so make sure that you deal with the anxiety as well. If you are struggling to know how to deal with anxiety, feel free to get in touch with us.
Create a routine
To create a routine, break an activity down into tasks. For example, the task could be getting ready for schoolwork, and the tasks could be broken down as follows:
a. Gather books, laptop or tablet, and pens and paper
b. Sit at the usual desk
c. Get books ready
d. Log in to learning platform
Write everything down and create a schedule. Keep an eye on this schedule throughout the day and make sure everything is running as it should. At first, you might find setting alarms to be helpful for you.
Remind your child that help is out there
During this uncertain time, your autistic child will need more empathy than ever. Remind them that if they are feeling anxious or sad, help is out there. Try to help them as best as you can with methods that you know to work, but also do reach out to professionals if required. We offer support and treatment for autistic children, click here to see our services.