COVID-19: Coping Strategies for Autistics for our Routines, Adjustment and Adapting
To all my beloved autistic friends, and caregivers of autistics, out there... it can be challenging adjusting to the changes/disruption to routines & lifestyle as malls,offices,tuition & childcare centres shut down operations with effect from Tuesday, as a circuit breaker to the COVID-19 spread. Some personal tips:
● If your routine involves going out to certain malls/places on weekends (or on any fixed days/timings), take this TRANSITION PERIOD to perform your comfort routine as usual (before they shut down on Tuesday) for the last time in some time. Malls are more quiet, with less people, this period [see 2nd picture for evidence] which may mean less sensory issues to cope with there.
● PRE-EMPT but making ADJUSTMENTS and PREPARING yourself for this transition... modify your routine to fit this "stay home" period. E.g. can certain routines/hobbies you like to perform outside, be performed/done at home (or virtually from home) instead?
● Request home cooked food for meals if necessary.. or plan where to buy from to dapao home (whichever you prefer). Consider Lunching with your family members at home if they are also on home based learning or working from home.
● If you routinely eat certain snacks and/or you like them very much, buy some and stock enough at home to tide you through the next 4 weeks at least. If the food is perishable in a short time, not to worry... Supermarkets and Hawker Centres / Coffeeshop are still OPEN as they are essential services. There is food delivery.
● Find activities at home that you take comfort in
● Those students on Home Based Learning, make the necessary adjustments. For example
▪︎ Have a designated study room. Place your stationery and materials there as how you normally would in school, if that helps you feel at ease since you will be performing your usual routine, so to speak
▪︎Advocate for your own needs .Ask your teachers for help and tell them HOW exactly they can help. e.g. pre-empt you ahead of time for changes in homework deadlines, class routines, class timetable, or how the class will be conducted... so that you don't get overwhelmed with sudden changes.
▪︎Get assistance from your parents and teachers. e.g. if you take comfort in eating the same foods in the school canteen routinely, ask if the same kind of food can be cooked at home and/or bought home from hawker centres on the same days of the week which you normally eat them in the canteen
●Those of us working adults working from home, we have a couple of adjustments too... the workstation, the Ergonomics, the Environment, the accessibility (or lack thereof e.g. office printers, stationery, documents etc. I myself am trying hard / struggling to manage this too. Let's share with each other tips shall we?
Any further tips you have? Do leave your comments!
Stay Safe, Eat Healthy, Adapt, and Stay Connected with the Community through social media+ Together we can tide through this!