For Families

How to explain Covid-19 to your child on the autism spectrum?  Part 1 (of 3)

May 6, 2020

First things first, we want to let you know that we have such respect for the parents we work with.  You are all doing a fantastic job and dedicating your life to your child(ren).  We see this every day in our line of work.  

Secondly, we want to disclose that from our point of view, it’s easy to “work” with your child.  We absolutely love what we do and thus, we plan to stay in this field, continuously learning and growing with your child (and your family).  That’s not to say that we don’t have challenging situations and at times we all feel a bit helpless in certain situations.  

Through the years we have, just like many of you, heard various professionals and institutions telling us what is “best practice” and how a child on the spectrum should be taught.  Which strategies are the most researched or “successful” and what to do when this behavior or that meltdown happens.  We have taken each piece of advice with more and more grains of salt as we believe that working with a child should include a combination of listening to your intuition, showing unconditional love and being flexible in each unique situation.  

Ultimately, there is no “one-size fits all” when it comes to working with any living being.  There are however essential, practical pieces of advice that we have found to be true for all our kids – these are things like keeping calm and having a low-arousal tone when the atmosphere in the house is a bit tense.  During the current situation of Covid-19 and a global lockdown, we are aware that tensions might arise for various reasons.  We see this in our own households too and thus the phrase “you are not alone” can bring about some truth.  Although we would also like to mention that there are various degrees of tension, anxiety and stress and not to compare one household to another, I am acutely aware that as a parent with a special needs child, you are experiencing more stressors than me at this stage.  

I have mentioned this before in an earlier blog, but I would like to reiterate that a child on the autism spectrum is feeling the emotions you feel too.  He or she might be feeling these emotions more intensely and thus can exhibit behaviors that you or another person might feel is a bit “over the top” or at times unfitting for that specific scenario.  It’s important to remember that some kids on the spectrum are trying to manage not only a very strange and restricted situation – being unable to participate in his or her usual activities, but also the reason for this and then on top of that the intense sensory needs that he or she might have, crave and need; yet not receiving (due to all the restrictions currently in place). 

We will explain what we do in our next blog: “How to explain Covid-19 to your child on the autism spectrum?  Part 2” tomorrow 🙂

Keep safe and well, Karla