The coronavirus outbreak is having an impact on everybody’s life. Social distancing means that most events are cancelled, schools are closed for most children, and people must work from home when they can.
This is hard for everyone, but we know that for some autistic children these things could trigger intense stress and lead to a meltdown or a shut down.
For many children on the autistic spectrum, the lack of a familiar, daily routine; getting ready for school in the morning, going to school, the predictable pattern of the regular school day and then coming home in the afternoon (often for a meltdown!) has been turned upside down. For others, still going to school, everything has changed! Key adults are different and may be working reduced hours or with different age groups and friends may not be around. For a few children on the autistic spectrum, the chance to stay at home and NOT have to go to school will be a relief. This doesn't mean that they wont experience anxiety, stress and melt downs.
Social stories have been found to be an effective way to communicate tough messages to children on the autism spectrum.
Here are some suggested links:
Corona Virus Social Stories:
Many children on the autistic spectrum have complex sensory needs. Some may find certain sensory experiences overwhelming or to be avoided and others may deliberately seek out sensory experiences.
Look here for some helpful ideas:
A child on the autistic spectrum may find being at home with their immediate family, in a more confined space, with little break from each other stressful.
You might try creating zones within the house for your child to access (for example a calm /safe space).
If your child accessed a calm box in school – use this idea at home.
We don’t really have any quiet, safe spaces at school so we have successfully used small pop-up tents to create them in classrooms. You could try this at home too, but a den made with an airer and blankets or a large cardboard box could work well too.