Giving Compass' Take:

• Anna Altavas writes about the importance of clarity and reassurance for individuals with autism working through the uncertainty of COVID-19.

• How can funders support those with autism? Who in your community needs support? 

• Learn more about the increased need for charity in these unprecedented times.

James Mancini, a speech and language pathologist with the Seattle Children’s Autism Center, and Tammy Mitchel, program director of the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, share ways individuals with autism and their families can cope during this unique time.

Many individuals with autism need predictability to manage their everyday lives with ease. The ‘stay-at-home’ orders issued by many states to help stop the spread COVID-19 have left many of these individuals with a sense of uncertainty and anxiety.

That is why Mancini suggests communicating with your child using plain, clear and concise language.

“Though it will vary depending on an individual’s unique strengths and weaknesses,” Mancini said. “It’s important that parents and caregivers take into account their child’s ability to process information when communicating to their child.  Having a script or social story prepared can be very helpful.”

A social story is a visual tool used to illustrate certain situations and problems and how people deal with them. They are aimed at helping individuals with autism develop predictable expectations, understand social norms and develop strategies of how to communicate during specific situations.

Also, assuring them that there are people out there working on this issue to get things back to the way they were can help bring some comfort.

“They should know that things like going back to school, seeing their teachers and therapists, visiting their grandparents and other familiar and routine activities will happen again, but we just don’t know when and that we need to listen carefully when our leaders say it’s safe to go out again,” Mancini said.

Also, remind them that we’re all in this together.

Read the full article about guiding individuals with autism through COVID-19 by Anna Altavas at On the Pulse.