Today’s world is full of change. Since COVID-19 first hit our shores in Australia our lives have changed dramatically. Over the last six-months or more we have all been in a state of flux not knowing what our future holds.
Our children are now growing up in a climate where we have restrictions on where we can travel, how we can exercise, how many visitors we can have in our house, adapting to school online, and numerous other things depending on which Australian State or Territory we live in.
It’s difficult for all of us to manage. Imagine what it feels like for someone with autism. For most people on the spectrum adapting to change can be extremely difficult. People with autism are generally set in routine and changes to this routine can make them anxious and upset.
Since the beginning of this pandemic our routines and usual daily activities have been thrown into chaos with things changing daily. However, there are some things you can do to help you or your loved one to navigate these changes.
- Communicate the changes clearly and give them time to process what you’re saying. For some, social stories about the change may help with this communication.
- Be positive about the change, or create some sort of positive association with the change. For example, when discussing wearing masks, you could talk about going out in disguise and associate it with being a superhero.
- Make sure your communication is relevant for that person and give them time to process the information and understand what the changes are.
- Reassure your person and validate their feelings. If they’re feeling worried or anxious tell them that it’s ok to feel that way and let them know you understand how they feel.
- Use calming strategies and techniques if you need to in order to help them to regulate their emotions.
It’s difficult for all of us right now, and I’m sure we’re all feeling some level of anxiety and possibly even depression. We’re all going through a very challenging and unknown moment in history and no one has a clear idea of how long this uncertainty will last for.
In times like these it can be hard for us to have a positive outlook, however, for the sake of our family we must try to continue to think positive thoughts and communicate positively to those around us.
Life is ever changing and it is important to remember that we will get through this time one way or another. If you are struggling with things at the moment there is help and support available to you through places such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline.