Down the Free E-Book Life at Home During COVID-19
None of us were prepared for the rapid changes that took place with the closing of community classes and programs. This ebook is ideal for helping ease that transition into isolation at home.
The current COVID-19 situation has caused many programs, schools, preschools and daycares to temporarily close their doors. Services are also on hold such as occupational and speech therapy. This has caused many parents to feel anxious that their child may regress with their development. If parents are hoping for a diagnostic assessment, the additional wait times will be increased under the current circumstances. It can be hard to feel confident supporting a child’s special needs if you aren’t sure how to do this. Take heart, though, as there are easy ways to support skill development within daily routines and other activities. There is also the gift of time now to slow down and allow for a longer period to teach skills.
Let’s have a look at a few topics and explore ideas on how to keep those skills growing during service and school interruptions.
Right and Left Discrimination
Knowing the left and right side is important to a child’s understand of where he is in a space and how the world is organized. There are 3 parts to this concept – the right/left of oneself, other individuals and objects. Many children with ASD are delayed in determining if they are right or left-handed. There is an above average number of people with autism who are left-handed.
Some daily activities to do to provide a right/left understanding are:
Children with ASD will not seek out toys or objects to use in a meaningful way which contributes to a delay in eye-hand coordination. Try putting objects of different shapes and textures into a pillowcase. Show each object and name it as you put it into the pillowcase. Have the child pull one object at a time, allowing for manipulation of the object. Talk about the object and demonstrate how to manipulate that object. Great objects to use – a ball, slinky, set of keys, windup toy, a small stuffed animal. This game allows a child to visualize an object in his mind and understanding of object permanence. Avoid toys that require batteries or react when a button is pushed. The child needs to have the impact on the object.
Other activities – shape matching, following a rolling ball, floor play with driving a train in a wide circle or figure 8 pattern, rolling a ball back and forth, hitting a balloon in the air, popping bubbles.
A note on video games – while children can become experts at video games, the skills that they learn while doing so are not transferable to other functional areas of life.
Fine motor skills are necessary for writing, eating, using clothing fasteners like buttons or snaps, and participating in leisure activities such as drawing or coloring.
Children with ASD can become dysregulated when their world becomes unpredictable. Too many demands, over-stimulation and not understanding what is expected can increase stress levels. To keep things clear and predictable:
Relaxation and downtime are just as important as having activities to do. Many children don’t know how to relax and need to be taught what some options could be. This is a skill that will serve them throughout their lives. The relaxation routine my son has now was first introduced to him as a preschooler.
Some ideas to relax are:
The ideas mentioned may not be suitable for all children or may need to be adapted for a child. Experiment to see what works best as each person with autism is an individual.
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