Today is Autism Awareness Day, a day to educate people about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the world, but in 2020 it looks very different to previous years.
This year most of us are practising social distancing by staying at home and away from people outside our family to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to keep Australians healthy.
Social distancing and home isolating is a tough experience for all of us, but for people with ASD or a loved one with ASD it can pose a new set of challenges.
We believe that people with ASD and their families are experts in their own lives and understand how to support each individual best. The priority is the safety of your loved one with ASD and everyone else in the household. Here are some simple strategies intended to help manage these unprecedented circumstances.
Keep routines as close as possible to a ‘typical day’. If you can’t map out the whole day, make small routines for even parts of the day, a morning, an evening or one hour.
Making a visual schedule, with or without pictures, may also be a good way to keep routine in your household.
Spend Time Outside or Moving
Spending time moving or outside is a good way to burn energy and whilst you might not be able to do some of the exercise your loved one with ASD would normally enjoy, there options to encourage outside time.
If you have a backyard or it is safe to go for walks, movement breaks and fresh air can be a great way to spend part of each day. If the weather or circumstances don’t allow for this, indoor movement breaks can be good options.
Be mindful of media influence contributing to anxiety, and potential misinformation being shared by peers and other sources. Make sure you are gathering information and updates from reputable sources. We’re regularly updating information on our Amicus COVID-19 page and to our Facebook page.
Keep your loved one informed in a factual, positive way if possible and help them to understand why they have had to make changes in their life and that it’s important to stay safe and healthy.
Autism Westers Australia has created a great easy english and image story which may be helpful to explain COVID-19 to your loved one.
Practice Good Hygiene
Getting into a good hygiene routine is the best way to protect your family from COVID-19.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Cough into your elbow.
- Dispose of tissues.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Create visual cues and reminder cards to demonstrate hand washing practices. Consider posting the DHHS hand washing poster by the sink along with practice, modeling, and supervision. You can find this poster to print here.
We know that every family has diverse needs, concerns, and priorities and is impacted by this crisis in different ways.
If you need more information on coping at home during this time please call us on 5441 2666.
ABOUT AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
AAD is a lifelong neuro–development condition that, among other things, affects the way people with the condition may relate to their environment and how they interact with other people.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means people living with autism experience a range of physical and social difficulties, plus the degree to which each individual is affected varies from person to person.
How does interacting with everyday environments affect people with ASD?
Many people with ASD experience heightened sensory sensitivities around sight, sounds, touch, taste, and smell. Trouble processing sensory stimuli is common among people with ASD but every person is different.
Some people have increased sensitivity to what they feel and see and hear, and others may experience reduced sensitivity or have trouble putting together information from multiple senses at once. Experiencing places with bright lighting, loud environments and busy atmospheres can be particularly overwhelming, painful, or even scary.
How can Amicus help with me or my child cope with distressing sensory stimuli?
Amicus support principles believe that people with ASD and their families are experts in their own lives and work with families to understand how to support each individual best.
We deliver NDIS Supported Independent Living (SIL), skill building supports and higher intensity support, working closely with families to provide continuity of support for people with ASD.
Amicus supports can assist people with ASD and their families work towards their goals, build capacity by learning new skills or refining skills and accessing respite if required.
For more information about our services visit www.amicus.org.au or telephone (03) 5441 2666 between 9 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.