Rather than being confined to our homes in an effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve, how many of us wish we were in another time, in our car on our way to a dream vacation? Can't you hear the child in the back of the car asking? “When are we going to be there?” Unfortunately, we are not on that dream vacation, but we can still use what the preparations are for a long trip and how to be ready in order to take care of our family and ourselves during the pandemic.
As family and primary caregivers for our children with special needs, we are given (a lot of) advice and expected to comply. We are really good at the following advice and implementing orders for our children. However, we, also, need to think of taking care of ourselves.
Tip 1: Start communication with your special needs child.
Your children may be of an age to be puzzled about what is happening to the outside world. They may have questions to ask.
Find out what your child already knows is the first step. Ask questions geared to your child's age level. For older children, you might as "Are your friends on Facebook talking about the coronavirus? What are they saying?" For younger children, you could say, "Have you heard us or grownups talking about a new sickness that is going around?" This gives you a chance to learn how much the children know and find out if they are hearing the wrong information.
Here is a link to help you with tips on talking with your children:
Tip 2: Make the preparation to have fun for your child.
All children struggle with change after the structure of school to now home, and special needs children are not excepted from this transition. You might consider making a "transition" book to help kids adapt more easily to the new change with family and people. An online option is a book created with My Storybook (https://www.mystorybook.com/books/new/).
You might consider sharing social stories. Here is a link to several resources:
(no sound, just pictures, and images)
Tip 3: Help your children to feel in control.
Your children want to feel some control over this crisis. Teach them to positive steps such as learning how to properly wash their hands. Then, if soap and water are not available, show them how to use hand sanitizer.
Tip 4: Keep everyone on a schedule.
It's important that routine that the children have now they are home every day. Join with your children to make a structured plan for their schoolwork and day's activities. Even though school is out, waking up and go to sleep at the same time as usual. Either a written or visual schedule is important to be posted in a high traffic area of your home. You need to have a structured learning time, playtime, and a "downtime" (where everyone goes to their room/space to do what they want whether it is watching TV or playing IPad with apps for special needs children. You and your family need consistency with the changing world. This may reduce anxiety and give a sense of stability.
Tip 5: Stay up-to-date on special education news during the COVID-19 crisis.
WVPTI sends current newsletters to help parents be more knowledgeable about your child's IEP and their disability during this time. These newsletters can help you with tips and advice for special needs children. The World Health Organization suggests for your mental health to watch the news about twice a day.
Tip 6: Empowering yourself to make a self-care plan.
First of all, you need to take of yourself in order to help your child and family. Here is a link to ways to ensure you do: https://www.verywellmind.com/self-care-strategies-overall-stress-reduction-3144729