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The coronavirus pandemic has forced the general population to stay in house arrest both the adults, as well as, the children and people of all age groups. The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the lives of the common people in different ways and hampered it to a great extent. But we must realize that it is more difficult to adapt to changes for differently-abled people and especially children with ASD, or more commonly known as the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Now, we understand that, as a parent, one would try their level best to assist their kids, no matter how much ill-fate has surrounded them. The reason why you have landed upon this article is, perhaps, in search of answers to how to help your child or loved one suffering from autism during these heinous months of the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be bewildered to find that we have the answers to your questions. Go through the article to help yourself assist with the troubles you are facing.

What To Tell Your Child About COVID-19?

It is very much possible that your beloved may find these days troublesome because he/she doesn't have an idea of what is going around. He does not know about what is going on in the outside world, or, that he/she is told about the horrific scenario but is unable to express his frustrations, fear, and terror. So, the parent must understand that communication is the only key. One has to tell their kids exactly how the circumstances are. It is difficult for autism patients to analyze the seriousness of a situation so you have to be very precise and tell him the way he/she understands.

It is very much possible that your beloved may find these days troublesome because he/she doesn't have an idea of what is going around.

The discussion ought to be very direct, clear, and more importantly, honest. The parents need to share the necessary precautions to be taken with their kids. For instance, that that COVID-19 is a virus. So, it is essential to remain healthy, and as far as possible, from human contact. You have to elucidate to your children why they need to attend their schools from home, for the time being, and the importance and necessity of social distancing, to prevent further spreading of the deadly virus.

Some Important Rules to Teach to Your Child With Autism Are as follows:

  • Direct them to properly and methodically wash their hands for a minimum of twenty seconds.
  • Tell them to avoid touching their hands to their mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Ensure that they know that they need to maintain a distance of six feet away from the next person.
  • Do not forget to tell them that they must wear a mask when they are going outside, and sanitize themselves thoroughly, after returning home.
  • When you have done your explanations of the current situation of the world to your child, wait for their turn to question. Do not give out extra information than required to avoid unnecessary panic in your child. The information should be precise and must be told in such a way that it makes sense to your child and he understands instead of asking a lot of questions in return.

How To Help Your Child Stay Calm

If your child with autism shows wearisome behaviours of worry, fear, frustrations; repetitive behaviours like the flapping of hands; challenging tantrums – do not get impatient and turn away. Autism can make you think that your child is different but you don't have to let this get into your mind and you should think as if he/she is no different from their friends. You need to find activities through which your child can healthily express their emotions. To do so, you can try:

Talking Together With Your Child: Try to talk with your child as much as you can. This develops the sense of understanding between you and your child and he/she will listen to what you say and will follow it because for him/her you are the communicator.

Taking Up Crafting Classes: Craft develops creativity and keeps the brain active. Also indulging in crafting activities will lower down free time to think about anything else.

Acting Out or Playing Fears: Try to find out the fears of your child and think about what you can do to eliminate them.

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Writing: This helps your child not only learn but also make him/her physically active. 

Augmented Communication Appliances (For Nonverbal Autistic Children): There are different equipments available in the market which helps nonverbal autistic children learn the basics of communication.

Now, alternatively, you can also try the following calming activities to control the behaviours of your child.

Listening To Music: Music is the best therapy not just for your child but for everyone.

Deep Breathing: This not only increases the lung capacity but also increases oxygen intake which is very good for the mind and body.

Meditation: It can be tough to teach meditation to your child but if you succeed then it can do wonders.

Exercises: Exercise is the biggest stress booster. Also, it lowers down anger and anxiety.

Watching Their Favorite Movie, or Video: Some entertainment can light up the mood so try to often watch your kid's favorite movie, a show with him/her.

For expert knowledge, you can read the Autism Parenting Magazine. You will find professional guidance and resources for people labored with autism. Autism Parenting Magazine, provide you with the latest and most consistent information. You will come across useful information like how to handle meltdowns, to deal with teenage issues, how to exercise social skills, to deal with bullying, managing issues regarding your child's behavior, adaptation into adulthood, how to plan for the financial future of your child, and so on.

You have to limit the social media exposure of your child. Prevent them from watching disturbing news reports or scary movies, depending on how well they can handle these. However, if your child does end up watching or hearing about a piece of upsetting news or story, make sure that you give them a safe place to open up. Bottle up emotions are never healthy, especially not for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). So, above everything else, talk to your children. But do remember to make time for yourselves as well. Everybody needs breaks.