Dealing with Changes During COVID-19
Adapting to changes in your routine can be odd, scary, interesting, and sometimes necessary. Right now, families all over the world are adjusting their family routines, daily choices, and goals for their family. Social skills, communication skills, learning/classroom behavior, independence, and other goals now look totally different or may change priority. As parents, as teachers, as helpers we all have a changed view of what’s important, what goals we are thinking about, and how to achieve them.
Professionals working with individuals with ASD or various other diagnoses may be finding it hard to help families right now. Here are a few ideas on how to be as supportive as possible when face to face services may not be available.
- Check-In: Let families know you are there for them! Pick up the phone, send a text, or schedule a Zoom session to talk about what’s going on, even if you are not providing telehealth services. Families are now working from home, teaching children, and trying to provide stability and routines for kiddos during a very stressful time. There are different emotions families may be feeling and it is important to be there, even if it is just to listen! When any new stressors come up, the best first step is to check in and plan together.
- Be Open and Be Flexible: While it is important to follow treatment plans and continue working on established goals, focus on what is important for the family right now. Consider how different the environment is for both parents and kids and how that might affect the strategies you recommend. Discuss with your families what is top priority right now and how that may change your goals and treatment plan. If you are having telehealth sessions, schedule them when the family might be most open or when they are struggling with a particular routine.
- Get creative: While parent training is an important focus of many treatment plans, this may not be as easy over the phone or video conferencing. Be creative! Find ways that work for you and the family. That might include emailing training items beforehand and scheduling time during the week to discuss them. This could also include role playing or video modeling for demonstration.
We should all be working together even more now since we are each impacted differently by our current situations. When in doubt, talk it out with each other. Check out the Child Mind Institute for more tips on how to manage stress, talk to kids about the pandemic, and create and establish new routines for your family.