The unusual norms that the coronavirus pandemic is imposing on us are quite annoying – everyone is forced to do certain things that they were not used to before. Anyway, for those who are normal, it is somewhat strange but not avoidable considering the looming danger in front of them, but for those on the autistic spectrum doing something which is out of their routine practice or working, the sphere is rather difficult to adapt. For autistic children doing certain activities which are out of sorts or which are not familiar can often lead to profound anxiety, which can be quite difficult to deal with.
The outlook seems to be quite exuberant in these circumstances for those autistic children and adults as there are some tools that can be used as a guide to easily navigate through these tough times. There are some proven strategies and methodologies available as well, but the only requirement is to ensure that support goes to those who are in need.
Ensure Proper Transition
Children and young adults on the younger age spectrum including school-age children may find the transition a bit uncanny – but families and caretakers should become extra vigilant in ensuring and spearheading the transition from the set routine to the novel one – which means to establish a new routine.
The New Norm
Talk to your caretakers, doctors, psychologists and other ancillary health service providers and pay close attention to the changes they suggest. Though the new norm or process could be different for each family and parent – all parents should pay attention to the fact that whether the transition is alleviating tension and worry. Furthermore, they should not become sceptical to adapt to the new course of action and plan.
Some of the well-established practices as a part of such a novel plan of action, which can help, include the following:
- Ensure that the best way of communication is the one that the autistic child interacts.
- Draft a visual schedule for the day – which in many ways ensures much-needed certainty and stability.
There is a shift from classroom learning to in-house learning with support from online learning tools as well. Therefore, make sure that all the plans and materials that are being used are the ones that the child is accustomed to using in their conventional classroom.
- Try to animate, at home, standards and daily working patterns (habits) of the classroom day.
- Ensure to follow the same attendance routine of the classroom at home and encircle those who are at home.
- Maintain the same mid-morning break, lunch break and mid-evening breaks for home life as well.
- Have a prompt communication on a regular basis with the school teacher to know what’s happening and interact with her to replicate the same at home as well.
- Ensure that whatever effort you are taking is a step forward to ensure consistency and normalcy.
The digital platform is mostly rich in visuals, text, videos and other stuff – which can be replayed. This methodology offers more time and space to process what others are saying and to articulate replies as well.
For children suffering from autism spectrum disorder, owing to their slow processing ability, digital tools are a sudden happening that brings good fortune.
Physical distancing or social distancing too can prove helpful for autistic children provided they become accustomed to it with necessary intervention and support from parents.