Coronavirus Makes Life For Families With Special Needs Extremely Challenging

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

As many parents struggle to adjust to the “new normal” of a canceled school year and being ordered to “stay home”, moms everywhere are uniting during these unprecedented times.

And while any child naturally feels the disruption of a routine, this feeling is intensified for children with special needs.

The truth is, moms of children with special needs are hit incredibly hard during this time, and find themselves running out of options.

You see, for kids with special needs, especially for many on the autism spectrum, routine is everything.

Many children with autism have their entire schedule memorized down to the minute, and find peace and comfort in settling into their comfortable everyday routine.

Just the slightest disruption of a routine can cause extreme distress for these children (and their parents), as many don’t understand why they can’t go to school or visit their favorite restaurant.

As a result, many moms are left scrambling trying to come up with a “new normal” for their children, and settle back into a somewhat normal routine.

If you’re a mom facing this crisis, here a few tips to help

 

Make A Visual Schedule

Your child might not understand the change, but chances are they’ll appreciate the familiarity of a visual schedule.

Whether on a whiteboard or even a piece of paper taped to the wall, do as much as possible to keep your child in their familiar routine.

Use timers and set aside time for schoolwork and plenty of relaxation.

It may take time, even weeks, but they’ll start to just.

 

Improvise But Keep Things The Same

Maybe your child only likes to eat certain foods.

Or perhaps they are used to eating inside a specific restaurant every weekend.

As much as possible, do what you can to maintain some sort of consistency with what they are used to.

If you can, stock up on their favorite food in case stores are low.

Other online shopping services like Instacart can even deliver groceries directly to your door if you can’t get away.

Now is not the time to try and introduce new foods to your child or force them to eat meals they don’t like.

Many children with special needs truly enjoy eating the same handful of foods and refuse to eat anything new.

If they are content eating scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast everyday, don’t try and get them to eat something they don’t like a granola bar.

Make things easy on them, and you.

And remember, while you may not be able to go out to eat, many places provide takeout or delivery service, so if your child has a favorite restaurant try and incorporate their favorite food into their diet by having it delivered.

 

Extra Grace

Chances are, with your entire family cooped up inside, everyone is going to need an extra measure of grace.

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From your husband to your other children, try and ease up the rules a little bit like allowing them to stay up slightly past their bedtime, or letting them wear their PJs around the house.

Everyone is feeling the stress and little things like this really help.

And yes, this means also giving yourself grace.

Moms everywhere are finding themselves navigating uncharted territories.

Things will be messy as everyone struggles to adjust to the new norm.

Make sure you find time to get outside with your immediate family (while practicing safe social distancing away from others) and go for a walk or bike ride.

And allow extra time for play – children may not be able to express the phrase “I’m stressed”, but they’re feeling it.

With a little bit of grace and a few changes, you can find yourself thriving during this period.

We’re rooting for you!

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