There is no doubt everyone will be affected by what’s going on in the world today. For the moment we’re choosing to remain calm and praying our lives will be relatively unchanged or at least, not majorly disrupted for an extended period of time. We’ll be able to deal with small variations but will be a challenge to navigate if our whole world is turned upside down.
The one positive for our autism family, is that our kids are completely oblivious as to what’s actually going on and they wouldn’t understand even if we tried to tell them.
Unfortunately for us and many other people on the spectrum, this is most likely going be a very disturbing time.
Routine is extremely important. Our kids are visibly affected when their routine is diverse from expected. Even after a week-long holiday or two-week school holiday break, the kids are ready to get back to their regular routine. We’d normally use a lot of verbal reinforcement and visual prompts to help with change but this may prove a bit tricky with all the uncertainty.
It’s important for us to continue with school and therapies consistently to achieve our goals.
Thomas especially, is not keen on learning at home, which will be a real struggle if we’re forced into lock down. School and associated therapy centers have always been their place of learning and home is their happy place where they can relax and be free.
Both kids have limited diets and only eat particular brands of certain foods. I’ve been lucky enough so far to stock up on essential items and hopefully we can manage our supplies because they won’t be able to comprehend why we can’t go to the shops to buy more, why we don’t have things to use such as toilet paper or be comfortable using an alternative.
We also never know if the kids are really sick unless it’s obvious. Due to their limited language, they can’t actually tell us how they’re feeling or what’s exactly wrong with them.
After reflection, I’m deciding to take a more positive approach. If it comes to it, we can use this time to work on other goals we don’t usually have a lot of time to focus on being time poor. Independence, adapting to change and food tolerance while also enjoying spending quality time together.
We can teach new skills around the home, play games for social skills with turn taking and learning rules and encourage independent living.
I’m thinking of setting up a home school schedule using verbal and visual reinforcements. For example- breakfast, school, play, school, lunch, school, play with set times, to see if that has a more positive impact to encourage learning at home.
Social stories, explanations in basic language and terms and keeping up with usual fun activities are other things we may explore.
By no means do I think we’re worse off than others. People will be affected in so many different ways during this terrible time.
I’m also very aware we’re lucky in other ways.
My husband is able to work from home and our family business will continue, we have a big backyard for the kids to play and family support nearby.
As autism parents we’ll need to remain calm, prepare as much as we can and minimize negativity for them and our whole entire family.
We can only hope that our situation doesn’t turn dire and deal with it the best way we can. Please be kind, patient and understanding towards everyone’s individual needs.