How can families deal with this “pandemic” amongst our own “autism pandemic”?

Yes, COVID-19 plus autism does equal confusion for most of our kiddos! I know they don’t understand what is happening. Most adults don’t even understand what is happening, so how can they? I mentioned in the last monthly blog on life of an autism mom about trying to explain to my kiddo that chuck e cheese is closed. Because it has been over a month now, I do my best to avoid that particular street, or side of the highway because no matter which way I take, he knows, chuck e cheese should be coming up soon!

Regular Quarantine

Hello world. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during the COVID19 pandemic. Something we thought would have been only for a short time has turned into this long-lasting crisis with an unknown time frame of when we can return to “normal.” This pandemic has impacted so many people through loss of family members to the disease, financial impacts and psychological impacts. In this time of isolation, I pray that the call for us to be Jesus’s hands and feet on earth does not quench. With proper precautions and by use of technology please check on the most vulnerable and provide them necessities as you are able. Remember the body of Christ is the church NOT the building.

Quarantine and autism

One of the greatest challenges in this pandemic is homeschooling the children. I think our autism family and network would agree when I say homeschooling an autistic child is even harder than we ever thought or expected. I recently read an article on AutismSpeaks.orgwritten by Kerry Magro. I love the subtitle “Being thrown off your routine and struggling with unexpected transitions can be a challenge for anyone.” Routine—what a powerful word. We all know children do better with routine and consistency but with autistic children, the need for consistency and routines multiplied by 1000.

Jayson’s new routine

In order to incorporate some sense of normalcy, we had to adopt a new “routine.” We still have our regular bedtime at 8:30PM. We wake up at 7:30 AM. We say our prayers and depending on his mood in the morning we do a short devotional. We brush our teeth, get dressed and start our day. For Jayson, I must admit, I have fallen off the wagon because I just can’t balance him, Emma, my job, my non-for-profit organization, and a few personal difficulties I am undergoing. I have set up Emma and she has her schedule going with her homeroom and special education teacher whom I can’t thank enough. For Jayson, I continue to work on the packets they gave us on the last day of school. In these packets, we have stories, sight words, math problems etc that I try to keep him engaged with as much as I can
and because I know he loves the outdoors, we are always working to go outside and play as an incentive to do work.

covid19 and autism

This week, we finally started with the special education teacher who read him a social story regarding the reasons why they are out of school and how much they each miss each other. Within 10 minutes or so after the story, he ran away. So the special education teacher and I brainstormed on ideas how we can keep him engaged during our next sessions to come. Butthis is his schedule they are expecting him to follow.

His regular class time is Tuesday’s from 12:30-1:30pm (and attendance is taken)
Art (still not sure when)
Music (still not sure when)
Library/Media (still not sure when)
I am still so confused like the picture at the top of the little child. This is all too much! Deep inside of me, I just laugh because these administrators or school board personnel have NO CLUE what happens in our homes! Unless they have gone down this road, they have no idea, though I understand this is no fault of their own, however a better system needs to be put in place to help us parents. I can’t even imagine what is happening in homes with kiddos that had events after school like swimming, or ABA or other therapies that have all been disrupted by this pandemic. This crisis my fellow friends has really shifted everyone’s perspective. We were living in an environment where our children were living such
structured, rountined lives and then everything came to a standstill and everywhere had abrupt closures. All activities ended. What are we to do and how are we to cope? Truly, I don’t have the answers or the solutions. For my family, as I stated we have tried to get in a routined as much as possible and tried to incorporate Jayson’s activities the best we can. But honestly, this has been the most exhausting, fed-up, sleepless nights, but yet the most educating and informative experience I have ever had to go through. I am trying to be and stay hopeful and positive and I pray the same for you and your families!

Please stay encouraged! There is no answer to this pandemic except to pray that true healing and restoration begins as soon as possible. How are you coping with COVID-19? Leave a comment below letting me know what activities you and your kiddo are involved in. Once more. stay blessed, stay safe and stay encouraged.
Love you all,
M.J.