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Managing During These Difficult Times
Due to COVID-19
The past week has brought a lot of changes to family routines and rhythms in the wake of COVID-19. As Oklahoma schools transition to continuous learning from home and many of our regular community activities are being postponed and cancelled, families and individuals with autism are being asked in both small and extremely significant ways to adapt to the “new normal.”  

There is no getting around it, this is just plain hard. A wide range of emotions are bound to crop up during this unprecedented time. There is no “right” way to feel in response to this situation. It is perfectly OK to be angry, to be sad, to feel anxious, or be overwhelmed. These emotions may come and go, and that is very natural and to be expected. 

As families make the necessary adjustments, it is important to remind ourselves to focus on what matters most -- taking care of our family’s basic needs, keeping everyone safe and healthy, and finding ways to connect with our loved ones. Day by day, we can strive for progress but the goal does not have to be perfection. Giving yourself the gift of grace, or cutting yourself a little slack, is very appropriate at this time.  

Here at the Oklahoma Autism Network, we want you to know that we are available to support families and individuals living life on the autism spectrum. We will continue to reach out on a regular basis with simple tips and information for you to use as you wish. Thank you for spending your precious time with us!    
Tip of the Week
We want you to remember that even if your child is not receiving school or clinic base interventions right now, you are doing more to help your child than you think. We just have to approach it differently.

Think of one thing that you can do this week to help create connection and interaction with your child.  

An example might be:
Go outside in your backyard and wait to see what your child is interested in.  

Then:
Follow their lead (even if it is just walking around the yard or playing in the dirt)
• Make comments on what they are doing ("we are playing in the dirt")
• Play alongside them and imitate their “play” ( they dig in dirt-you dig in dirt)

Imitating your child is one effective way to increase your child’s engagement with you. Just be sure you are only imitating behaviors you are fine seeing your child do more often.
 
You can also do these steps while your child is engaged in a video game or electronic device, or you can simply join in with them while they are stimming. You may begin to see them become more engaged with you during this time! Congratulations! You have just initiated some ABA ( Applied Behavior Analysis) strategies! You may not feel that you are doing enough, but doing this during play, bath, dinner time, etc. is doing more than you realize!  
The Oklahoma Autism Network
Is Here For You
Please reach out to us if you need help connecting with a resource or if you need technical assistance managing a situation related to your family member with ASD.  

The best way to reach us is by email at okautism@ouhsc.edu
 
All OAN staff are working remotely due to restrictions in place at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center due to COVID-19.  

  
Stay safe and healthy!
The Oklahoma Autism Network Team