How to Cope with COVID-19: Resources for You and Your Child with Special Needs

In light of COVID-19 spreading across the globe, there has been an outpouring of support and action to try and accommodate children with special needs and their families.  Today we aim to culminate some of these fantastic resources in one place for you all.  If you have seen other resources please be sure to link them in the comments!

1. Use a video/social story

First up is a video/social story from UM-NSU-CARD that may be helpful for some adults and children with special needs or on the autism spectrum.  If they are having a hard time conceptualizing what is going on or are asking questions concerning the situation but are having a hard time processing your responses, this may be helpful to them.  If they aren’t too keen on the video, that’s okay!  Check out some of the other things listed below.

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2. Follow the advice of pediatric experts

Another resource that was recently released is this comprehensive set of guidelines for talking to children about COVID-19 (there is also a video for this on the linked page).  All of these suggestions are spot on, but be sure to take the recommendations and apply them to your children individually.  These weren’t written specifically for children with special needs or autism, so you may need to think outside the box or talk to your ABA provider about how best to do some of these things.

3. Use the resources available to go on virtual field trips while you are stuck inside!

Check out this fantastic list!  There are virtual ballet classes for all ages/ability levels (from Falls Church, VA!), virtual zoo tours, and a surplus of museum tours.  For some of you extroverts or busy-bodies who struggle with staying inside, this may help!

4. Don’t forget about mental health!

While doing all you can to enforce social distancing, sanitize, and minimize risk of COVID-19 infection, please also make efforts to be aware of your own mental health.  Here are the CDC’s recommendations for managing your mental health so that you can be the best mom/dad/caregiver/service provider that you can be.   Your own mental health is always something worth having a conversation about if you notice anxiety, stress, or depression reaching a critical point, which is of course more likely to happen when there is a pandemic.

That’s all for now, please leave any other suggestions in the comments on Facebook!

Joshua Farrow, MS BCBA LBA