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Special Needs Kids & Quarantine

It has been a rough week on all of us!

As I may have mentioned in the past I have two children with autism. My son, 17 years old, is higher functioning and my daughter, who turns 15 tomorrow, is lower functioning. For spring break, we had to cancel our trip to Disneyland. My daughter's obsession is all things Disney. It has been very rough on her not doing the usual things we would do for a vacation. I had to tell her that Handy Manny is "fixing Disney." This seemed to help.

If you have children with special needs, it can be really difficult to deal with because they might not understand what is going on.

One way to help is to use social stories. This website has a social story about the coronavirus and why we need to stay home. It has been translated into several languages.

Try and keep a schedule as best as you can. Particularly kids on the spectrum need a schedule. If you can, actually write it down and post it somewhere like a visual schedule. You can add meal times, craft times, television shows, bath time, etc. This will help with the anxiety they experience not knowing what is going to happen next.

If you are able to (obviously harder for our Northern friends who just got hit with snow), go for a walk. Get the bikes out; exercise is something we all need right now. Many kids with special needs are overweight and even short walks can be helpful.

Now is a great time to have your kids help you organize their rooms. Maybe even rearrange their rooms. Make their room a place as special and unique as they are!

Limit the time you have the news on. This is a good idea for not just those of us with kids but for all of us. Too much news is just overwhelming. Instead, check on reputable sites like

Be your own occupational therapist There are some great sensory activities online. Jennifer Carter Timmons posted some great activities for kids to do at this time.

This is also a great time to teach our kids some life skills like how to do the laundry, cleaning, sewing on a button and other independent living skills. Amazon has some great books about this. One of them is Practical Life Skills-Independent Living by Lisa Renaud. Even some of the "neuro-typical" kids I work with could use this!

Have your kids create art or make cards for elderly family and friends who might be quarantined at their home, nursing home or assisted living. It gives them something to do and will undoubtedly brighten someone else's day.

Above all, hang in there. Stay healthy and try to enjoy the down time with your family.

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