AARC Tip of the Month | March 2020 | View as Webpage
With the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, many Alaskans face uncertainty, routine changes, and possibly illness. For individuals with autism, this can provide additional stressors. In response to this, we have provided information on how the AARC is operating during this time, tips for managing our current situation, and both national and local resources. 

AARC has made some changes, but we remain open for remote consultation, resources, and training!

Barnes & Noble Bookfairs in Anchorage (3/20) and Fairbanks (4/4)
Annual Anchorage Walks for Autism (4/18)

  • We are still open and providing resources to Alaskans. We are looking at possibilities for virtual events during Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month and will provide updates as these are released. Staff are frequently working from home, so please email us at aarc@sesa.org instead of calling.
  • Appointments: If you would like to schedule a phone or virtual appointment, please email our Program Coordinator, Aimee Smith, directly at asmith@sesa.org.
  • Resources: If you are looking for resources, but do not require an appointment, email aarc@sesa.org or visit the AARC website www.AlaskaARC.org. Resources are also still currently available through the SESA Library at www.sesa.org/library/
  • Training: If you would like to schedule a distance training during this time, you may fill out our training request form, at https://www.alaskaarc.org/training
  • Social Media: Since this situation is rapidly evolving, please follow us on Facebook for the most recent updates, resources, and publicly-available trainings or events!

  • We have created a general resource list on a variety of topics related to COVID-19. This list is evolving, so please continue to check back: Check out the list here.
  • Check out these previous Tip of the Month articles: Post-Disaster and Emergency Preparedness.
  • The AARC also has medic alert safety arm bands and “I have autism” cards available by request at aarc@sesa.org. These bands can be attached to car seats, seat belts, arms, backpacks, etc. and are easily removable by adults. Make sure you have an emergency safety plan for your child. Here are some safety recommendations.
Try to keep yourself and your children calm.
Try making things fun or turning tasks into a game for children. This can make the mundane seem exciting and motivating. 
While social distancing, don’t socially isolate.
Make sure to connect to family, friends and others through distance means, while following CDC recommendations.
Make sure to get some exercise!
There are a variety of ways to do this at home , and exercise is an evidence-based practice for autism! 
Keep body clocks on a normal routine.
For example, get up and go to bed at consistent times, open window-shades or turn on happy lights in the morning, eat meals at consistent times, etc.
Break difficult tasks down into smaller steps.
This can be particularly helpful in tasks such as hand-washing, cooking, or even breaking down a school project.
Keep a routine .
Change is difficult, but setting a consistent routine can be helpful. Use visual schedules and timers to support the routine. 30 minute time blocks are a good place to start. 
Have motivating activities for children (or adults) to do after they complete work tasks, chores, etc.
In the resource document , there are several educational and fun activity ideas available. For our remote and rural communities, what cultural activities could your child engage in at home?
Set up a sensory or quiet space at home.
Especially if you now have many people at home, give your child a safe space to go when home becomes busy. Setting up a time of day where everyone takes “quiet time” can also be beneficial for the whole family! Quiet time activities could include coloring, weaving, reading, resting, or any number of quiet activities.
Use the “high-p” procedure. Give children a series of easier/ preferred tasks before a hard/ less-preferred task. Provide praise or reinforcement after each task. Alternatively, use the “first-then” strategy, where you must complete a certain task or activity before moving on to the next.
Resources of the Month
The resources of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for items on the   SESA website , or contact the librarian, Anne Freitag, at   afreitag@sesa.org   or 907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,   go to the login  page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.   Learn more about ebooks here .
Baditude!: What to do when your life stinks!
Written by Julia Cook; Illustrated by Anita DuFalla
Boys Town Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781934490907
Description: Noodle's attitude is alienating everyone around him. Can he let go of his angst and try to find the brighter side of life? With help from a teacher and his mom, Noodle learns how to turn his 'have tos' into 'get tos' and his baditude into gratitude! - Publisher . Grades K to 6.
A Flicker of Hope
By Julia Cook; Illustrated by MacKenzie Haley
National Center for Youth Issues, 2018. ISBN: 9781937870522
Description: "HOPE is our children's window for a better tomorrow. In terms of resilience and well-being, hope is a critically important predictor of success. This creative story from the best-selling author of My Mouth is a Volcano!, and Bubble Gum Brain, reminds children that dark clouds can be temporary and asking for help is always okay. We all have times when we need to borrow a little hope from someone else. When your clouds get too dark, and too heavy to push away, Reach out and ask, "Can I borrow some light?" "I'm having a really bad day." Everyone needs somebody sometimes, to help them find their way." - Publisher
Hygiene... You Stink!
Written by Julia Cook; illustrated by Anita DuFalla
Boys Town Press, 2014: 9781934490624
Description: " This amusing story centers around a fork named Jean who hates taking baths in the sink, detests showering in the dishwasher, and has plenty of excuses for not keeping clean. When she notices that the other silverware no longer want to hang out with her, the can opener explains the importance of bathing and tooth brushing. Then her social relationships improve for the better. - Publisher . Grades K to 6.
It's You and Me Against the Pee... and the Poop, Too!
Written by Julia Cook and Laura Jana; Illustrated by Anita DuFalla
National Center for Youth Issues, 2011. ISBN: 9781931636759
Description: "Meet Stanley, an energetic three-year-old who hasn't quite mastered using the potty. Stanley is way too busy playing to stop having fun. He'd rather hop, skip and wiggle than get the job done. Then Stanley learns a new game called 'You and me against the pee-- and me and you against the poop!' Armed with a powerful secret for potty-training success and eager to play, Stanley proudly transforms into a potty expert." - Publisher. For ages birth to grade K.
Personal Space Camp
Written by Julia Cook; Illustrated by Carrie Hartman
National Center for Youth Issues, 2007 . ISBN: 9781931636896
Description: "addresses the complex issue of respect for another person’s physical boundaries. Told from Louis’ perspective, this story is a must have resource for parents, teachers, and counselors who want to communicate the idea of personal space in a manner that connects with kids.." Publisher . For grades K to 3.

There is a teacher’s guide for this title:  Personal Space Camp Activity and Idea Book
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
Written by Julia Cook; Illustrated by Anita Dufalla
National Center for Youth Issues, 2012. ISBN: 9781937870034
Description: "This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety." Publisher . For ages 5 tp 8 years, for grades 2 to 5.

There is a teacher’s guide for this title: Wilma Jean the Worry Machine: activity and idea book
101 Activities for Kids in Tight Spaces: At the doctor's office, on car, train, and plane trips, home sick in bed
Carol Stock Kranowitz; Illustrations by Elaine Yabroudy
St. Martin's Griffin, 1995. ISBN: 9780312134204
Description: "When what you've got is a small space and a restless child, what you need are 101 ingenious solutions--right away. Here they are--easy to implement, creative fun for the three to seven-year-old--activities that can turn tough moments into teachable, terrific ones." - Publisher
Alaska Autism Resource Center | 866-301-7372 | aarc@sesa.org | www.AlaskaARC.org