April is Autism Awareness Month. In light of recent events, I felt it best to raise awareness by offering suggestions on how to offer support to autism families, not just during times of crisis, but on a day to day basis. Feel free to share and offer support!💙❤️💙❤️
1) Communicate: reach out to a spectrum family you are familiar with and check in. Autism families often feel like islands: out in the world alone. You’d be surprised how much a “Hey how are you doing?” call can mean to a spectrum parent, especially now;
2) Contribute: Many spectrum families are finding themselves overwhelmed. Their children do not have access to familiar services, everyone is sequestered together, and schedules (the mainstay of an effective day) are off. Offering something as simple as soothing music, internet access, reading books online, buying tangible supplies for homeschool assignments/OT/Speech therapy activities can reduce stress in a household affected by autism and COVID-19;
3) Compassion: If you encounter a spectrum family, offer compassion, not judgment, fear, or indifference. It is likely you will see spectrum children having meltdowns and exhibiting other behaviors because of these uncertain times. Offer to help in some way. If you don’t want to do that, then at least don’t make the parents feel worse with comments and stares;
4) Containment: A fact that is less known about autism is there is an increased risk of having other disorders along with it. For this reason, persons with autism may have compromised immune systems and thus, be more susceptible to COVID-19 or other illnesses. If you want to help a spectrum family, but you know you’re ill or you just want to be safe, offer virtual assistance and maintain distance.
Simple strategies of support can go a long way. Don’t be afraid. Reach out …..💙❤️💙❤️