Disruptions to our personal and professional lives, schedule changes, and school closings present unique challenges individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. In these challenging times, we are sensitive to the needs of these individuals and their families. To help, we have compiled these resources aimed at reducing anxiety and restoring a sense of routine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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How Are You Coping With COVID-19 restrictions? Share Your Story!

We asked families to share their stories during the COVID-19. Hear their stories about coping with stay-at-home restrictions during the pandemic. As you continue to adjust to your new work/study from home routines, we invite you to share your snapshots and stories about life at home. What strategies have you discovered for dealing with the disruption? What has been a struggle and what’s going well?

We will share your stories on social media with #AutismCOVID19Stories.

COVID-19 Webinars You Can Watch Now

Covid-19 autism, covid-19 autism support, autism coronavirus

Talking to kids about changing schedules, altered plans, and disruption during COVID-19

Amanda Tami, LPC, BCBA, holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and has completed a recertification program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition to being a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Amanda is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has experience working with both children and adults, including those who have autism spectrum and other pervasive developmental disorders, ADD/ADHD, anxiety issues, and trauma, both as a BCBA and as a counselor. On April 30th, she will join us to discuss ideas for providing compassionate support to individuals on the autism spectrum who are experiencing disruptions and anxiety related to the virus and its impact.

Support for Individuals with ASD: Coping with Family and Virtual Interactions During COVID-19

Learn skills for handling disagreements with family members, resources for virtual social interactions, and general guidelines about coping with the lockdown for individuals with ASD and their families. Our speaker, Aarti Nair, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral scholar in the Dapretto Lab at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. Dr. Nair received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and anthropology from the University of Mumbai, and her master’s degree in clinical psychology from UNC Charlotte. In 2015, Dr. Nair received her Ph.D. in neuropsychology from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology in San Diego, CA. Her primary research interests lie in multimodal imaging studies of social cognition in ASD, specifically using fcMRI and DTI techniques to quantify connectivity differences within this population. Currently, she is working on studies involving maturational trajectories of subcortical networks in ASD, as well as network clustering analysis to identify subgroups within the broader ASD endophenotype.

 

Emotional Support for Families during COVID-19

The uncertainty and sudden changes caused by COVID-19 are difficult for all families, but particularly so for some families and individuals experiencing anxiety and autism. Learn supportive tips, mindfulness techniques, and positive ideas for managing the stress. Presented by Lisa Latten, MsED, Caitlin LeGros, MSN, Suzannah Joy Iadarola, Ph.D., and Lisa Luxemberg, MSW, University of Rochester Medical Center.

 

Anxiety, Autism: Five Prime Suspects – with tips for coping at home during COVID-19

Christopher Lynch, Ph.D., is a child psychologist who specializes in stress and anxiety management for children and teens who are on the Autism Spectrum. He is currently the Director of the Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Department at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, where he developed the Aspirations life management program. In this webinar, Dr. Lynch explains the major underlying causes of anxiety, as seen in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and gives suggestions on how to tackle them. He also talks about how some of these evidence-based strategies can ease anxiety throughout COVID-19 disruptions.

Home All Day – Basic supports and strategies to get us through COVID-19

Angela Mouzakitis, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA teaches at St. John’s University as an Assistant Professor in the Psychology department. Her research includes working with behavior support plans for children with autism spectrum disorder. In this presentation, she discusses some of the significant causes and effects of emotional distress during schedule disruptions and how to tackle them with concrete, evidence-based coping mechanisms.

Home All Day – Exercise During COVID-19

School closures, suspended recreational activities, and limited therapies due to the COVID-19 pandemic have left many families with few choices for physical activities. Tune in to learn how the need for movement and sensory integration doesn’t stop, and tips for exercises that may help fill the gap. David S. Geslak, BS, ACSM EP-C, CSCS started Exercise Connection in 2009.

Prenatal Nutrition During COVID-19

Are you or somebody you know thinking of having a child – or maybe a baby is already on the way? Do you have questions about precautions to consider from a nutritional perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic? Learn steps for optimizing preconception and prenatal health through good nutrition. Vicki Kobliner is a Registered Dietitian has extensive experience using various diet modalities to help children with autism and related disorders. Vicki works with infants, children, and adults with chronic illnesses, digestive disorders, food allergies, ADHD, and autism, and provides fertility and prenatal nutrition counseling.

Free, Live COVID-19 Webinars – Register Now

Preparing for Back to School During COVID-19
1 pm Eastern Time (U.S.) on 7/22/20

As students prepare to return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have questions about how to help your loved ones on the spectrum cope with social distancing, distance learning, and ongoing change. Tune in to ask your questions in real time.

Social Stories and Video Aids

Here is a list of social stories and priming videos to help individuals with personal hygiene, communicating COVID-19 symptoms, and prepare them for potential medical examinations.

Feeling Sick: Coronavirus Symptoms Social Story

This downloadable print covers the most common symptoms associated with Coronavirus.

*NEW* Critical Care COVID-19 Commmunication Charts

Symbol boards created to help patients communicate in hospitals and critical care

I Can Wear a Mask: Social Story

This social story explains why it is important to wear masks, what a mask feels like and how to practice wearing a mask safely.

Social Distancing: Explainer Social Story

This social story explains what social distancing is and why it is important during COVID19.

When Can I Go Back To School? Explainer Social Story

This social story explains why schools are closed right now and when it might be safe to go back.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Explainer Social Story

This social story explains why it is important to keep our hands away from our faces during COVID19.

Hand Washing: Step-by-Step Social Story

This downloadable print offers a step-by-step guide for proper handwashing techniques for your loved one to follow along with.

Easing Medical Anxiety Through Play and Priming*

This video gives tips on how to prepare your loved one for a doctor’s visit though priming and medical play.

Easing Anxiety During Medical Procedures: Positioning for Comfort*

This video shows parents and guardians how to position your loved one for comfort during unpleasant medical procedures.

Blood Draw – What to Expect*

This priming video offers individuals the opportunity to preview the process of receiving a blood draw.

*Special thanks to our friends at the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development for their help in creating this content.

Home/Coping with the Covid-19 Pandemic

Additional Resources: 

  • The Autism Society of America is providing Facebook Live events to provide support for families coping with COVID-19 as well as additional links and information on their website.
  • Autism Speaks provides COVID-19 resources on their website for families, educators and individuals on the spectrum HERE