COVID-19 Resources

The recent life changes, including school closures due to COVID-19, have many of us trying to figure out how to manage the extended time our children will be out of school.  This can be a challenge for any parent.  However, these unexpected changes can be especially difficult for children with ASD and their caregivers.  Some children will love the extra time at home while other children may be upset that they are not returning to school this year.

We have added this new section to our website as a way to share resources and information with families and professionals.  If you have an individual need, please reach out to us by email at okautism@ouhsc.edu.  

Please keep checking for updates.

Social Narratives

Some of our children may be worried about COVID-19 and may find it helpful to learn more about it.  Here are some ready-made social stories to help you talk to your child about COVID-19.

Amanda McGuinness, The Autism Educator.  Coronavirus Social Narrative.  
(Thank you to Brandy Parks from SoonerSuccess for pointing out this resource)

University of Miami-Nova Southeastern CARD.  Coronavirus Social Narrative. 

Carol Gray, creator of Social Stories.  Pandemics and the Coronavirus Social Story. 

Autism Little Learners.  Coronavirus Social Narrative.

 

Creating Structure

Most children with ASD prefer some level of structure and familiarity in their day to day routines.  While it is typically not possible to create the same amount of structure at home that children have at school, there are some ways to provide some structure at home so your child at least knows what to expect from day to day.  

•    Create anchor points in your day to give your child an idea of what to expect.  You don’t have to plan out every moment of the day, but provide some general idea of what you will be doing each day.  Below is an example:

o    Breakfast
o    Play with toys
o    Electronic time
o    Lunch
o    Play outside
o    Play with toys or electronic time
o    Dinner
o    Bath
o    Bed

•    Use visual supports to help communicate the routine or any upcoming activities to your child.  What type of visual supports depends on your child’s current skill level.  You can use pictures that you take on your phone, a written schedule if your child reads, or line drawings that you can typically find on-line.  You may also use a calendar with a picture or something that represents being home on each of the days that school is out (currently through April 3rd for all public schools in Oklahoma).  Here is some additional information about how to use visual supports.

 

 

Day to Day Strategies

It can be difficult to find the positives in our current situation.  After all, none of us planned for or expected this to happen.  There are some ways to use the extra time we have with our children to connect and engage, and maybe even work on learning a few new skills. 

Using motivation and interests

•    Using a child’s motivation and interests creates opportunities to engage and also to help your child learn new skills.  For example, is your child likes dinosaurs, you can read books with your child and work on skills such sounding out new words, identifying objects in the pictures, or answering comprehension questions (Who, what when, where, and why).  If your child enjoys certain toys or activities, join them.  If your child initially prefers to play alone, just watch and observe while making an occasional comment about what they are doing.  As your child becomes more comfortable with you being part of the activity, you can ask questions, model new ways of playing with the toy/activity, and work on other skills based on your child’s current abilities (eg: turn taking, pointing or using words to request, answering questions, tolerating a new way of playing, etc).

Exercise

Taking time to get outside, or get some exercise indoors.  Exercise is a great way for all of us to reset, especially when we start to get restless and anxious from extended time at home.  Research shows that exercise can help decrease self-stimulatory behaviors, hyperactivity, and aggression.  Add some movement time into your daily routine for the benefit of everyone in the house.   You can take a walk, go to the park, or go outside and play ball.  Anything that gets everyone moving is helpful.

 

Resources

Autism Society of America - COVID - 19 Toolkit

Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Social Security Administration Coronavirus Updates

SoonerSuccess - Multiple resources for Coronavirus (COVID-19) linked on their homepage

University of North Carolina On-Line Toolkit

US Department of Education - Coronavirus resources

Wright's Law - Coronavirus FAQ regarding special education services

Let's Talk Autism Newsletters

Below you can access the weekly newsletters we began sending when school ended in March due to COVID-19.  The newsletters include resources and tips of the week, with information families can use in day to day life at home. 

March 19, 2020
Managing at Home During Coronavirus

March 27, 2020
Connecting with Your Child

April 2, 2020
Autism Awareness Month

April 8, 2020
Capturing Everyday Moments

April 14, 2020
Let's Get Moving

April 24, 2020
Just Pick One

April 30, 2020
Building Coping Skills

May 5, 2020
Your Feedback is Needed

May 6, 2020
Taking Care of Yourself

May 14, 2020
Preparing to Return to a New Normal

May 21, 2020
Challenging Behavior During Challenging Times

May 28, 2020
Come Check Out Our New Website Section

June 9, 2020
New Website Focus:  "Learn About Autism"

June 16, 2020
New Website Focus:  "Access Services and Supports"

June 23, 2020
New Website Focus:  "Advocate and Form Partnerships"

July 2, 2020
New Website Focus:  "Learning Helpful Everyday Strategies"

July 8, 2020
New Website Focus:  "Make a Plan"

July 14, 2020
New Website Focus:  "Learn About Family Health and Wellbeing"

July 21, 2020
2020 Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference Update

July 29, 2020
Tips for Virtual IEP meetings

August 12, 2020
Tips for Remote Learning

August 20, 2020
Preparing for a "School" Schedule

August 25, 2020
Virtual Learning and Managing Screen Time, Part 1

September 2, 2020
Virtual Learning and Managing Screen Time, Part 2