My Special Needs Parent Coronavirus Survival Guide
Posted on 03/24/20 in Parent and Caregiver by Estee Ezinski
One of my greatest accomplishments as a parent of a child on the spectrum has been my ability to prepare. I prepare to be able to prepare based on what my child’s needs are. I can confidently say that I as a human and a mother have found myself completely unprepared for the upcoming weeks.
I will not pretend to understand everyone’s different needs because they are all so significantly different. My child has school avoidance issues and is delighted that he isn’t required to go; meanwhile your child may be extremely upset in the change in their routine because they genuinely enjoy being there. We do share some of the same fears: What about my child’s services? Will he/she regress? How do I teach my child when his/her needs are different? How do I work from home and care for my child?
As I remind myself to take a breath and not go into a full blown panic, I scroll through my Facebook feed and see parents rallying together, offering to support one another and share the helpful resources that they have found or ideas for how to make it through the next couple of weeks. I don’t have all of the answers, at this point no one does. I do know that if we team up and are there for each other we will make it through WITH our sanity.
There are a few things that I am confident in:
I need to take care of myself- I was never a fan of the analogy about needing to put on my mask first. I’m quickly learning through this process that I may feel like my kids don’t have a lot of resources now, they do have me. If I am not able care for them because I needed to be hospitalized that doesn’t help anyone. Color, stretch, watch funny videos, and take a longer shower.
Schedules will help- Personally, I am horrible at this. In the past, I have had such a difficult time putting it in place and then sticking with it. Target would be calling my name and I couldn’t decline the call and it would all fall apart. At this current moment there is nothing else that I can possibly do, there is less room for me to make changes. I know it would be beneficial in my home for managing some of those challenging behaviors.
We will all need breaks- I am outnumbered in our home and fiercely rely on my children to help with their sibling who is on the spectrum. For me it is as simple as having them play what he wants; over time that can become exhausting and frustrating for them. They need their time too, time to do what they want to do.
Screen time will happen- Whether screen time is used as a positive reinforcer or it’s just built into your daily schedule it is ok to take advantage of the benefits. There is no need to feel guilty for utilizing screen time for your own advantage. If it takes an IPAD for an uninterrupted shower, so be it.
Our kids will still learn- Maybe it won’t be fractions or the periodic table, but it will be life skills. Things they will use every day for the rest of their lives, things that they could never learn in school. We may not know how to teach our children certain things, but we can teach them things that we do every day. How to count money to pay a cashier- play store! It can be a great time to teach this skill when it’s time for a snack. How to do laundry or the dishes. How to cook a meal. How to plan a meal with ingredients that you already have at home. We use our phones on a regular basis, we can teach our kids how to Facetime and begin and end a call appropriately with family and friends and work on those social skills!
This won’t last forever- Right now is scary, but it is temporary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Share your ideas that are working in your home with others. We will get through this TOGETHER.
ABOUT THE WRITER
As Helpdesk Coordinator, Estee Ezinksi supports individuals and families in finding resources in their communities. Estee has a professional background in pediatric patient care and is a mother to a child with autism. As a mom, she is dedicated to serving families while being able to utilizes her own child’s and family’s experiences to help guide other families. Estee is an active PTA member currently serving as PTA President in her district while sharing her passion for advocating for the autism community.