Steps to Regain Control During an Uncertain Time

I was planning on writing this blog about how we usually approach Spring break, you know activities to do, prep for our children who really like their schedules but find themselves off.

And then we found ourselves off NOW and for a long time too.  And we all know why…Corona virus.

Turns out Elizabeth’s college decided to cancel all face to face classes for the remainder of the semester.  I have to say, I support the decision to limit contact in this time of such uncertainty. I support all the measures that our governor in Ohio did, the same ones that closed my son’s school for 3 weeks.

I support it all.

And now pragmatically speaking:  We find ourselves looking at days that are open ended, school work that will need done and did I mention the open ended days?

I know for Elizabeth that having a nice  schedule is a comfort to her. With her sensory issues, knowing what comes next and how to prepare for it are comforting and lower her anxiety.  

But suddenly we are without.

Also, how do we go about telling our special needs children the reason for the change without really scaring them?  And also, how do we make sure they follow the “social distancing” and good handwashing protocols without making their anxiety greater?

For us, I decided to have a casual but structured conversation with Elizabeth.  We were in the car driving her to her job, which is still on the schedule and I began by asking her if she knew why  we are all off? When she said yes, I built on it by saying 

The things we COULD do to keep ourselves healthy,

-I told her about good handwashing

-that we are wiping down our cell phones

-that we are only using paper towels, not hand towels in our home

Things we NEED to do to keep ourselves healthy

-We will try to keep eating healthy.

-We will all be taking vitamins daily

-We will all try to keep talking and sharing feelings if she feels overwhelmed.

-That Elizabeth should make sure to ask for a break if things are overwhelming.

The things we CAN’T

-We will not be having friends over

-We will not eat out or take in—for a while

-We will not share our cell phone

-We will not share glasses or take “just a little sip” of someone else’s

All the things we talked about pertained to the changes we need to make for our world.  Yes! Elizabeth loves to split a coffee with me and does take “just a little sip”, she loves going out to eat and asking a friend over.

 Life is changing.  

But I don’t want her or Michael to be in fear.  At times, I have to quell it down in myself.

So what I DID do:

-I made a schedule of how our days will look.  With school time, workout time, outside time etc…all marked.  It is a loose schedule but it is one that works for us, with OUR interests on it.

-We had a little meeting about why we need to follow the schedule and be a team..meaning as few disagreements about working as possible.

-I told them about the movies we could watch together, the fun we could have outside and the fact we get to hang out together.

-We talked about limits on T.V. as well as Xbox( Michael’s here) because that is the default do to for my children and 4 weeks of that in great amounts  is not something I am OK with.

-Offered that we can talk about feelings or fears at any time.

I was sent a really great social story about the virus and how to talk to your children from our beloved therapist, Mary.  Please go to www.littlepuddins.IE or www.autismeducator.IE  to find them.

We are playing this out day to day as is the rest of the world. 

But I am trying to keep my world as okay as we can.  

I hope the same for you.

-Michele

Talktool admin 23 Mar 20

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