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Kate Eberle Cotter and Melanie Holzwarth work as a team in the Reach and rise youth Mentoring program at the YMCA. Kate is a clinician who has worked in a variety of youth populations, and Melanie is a mom raising two children with Autism and an experienced homeschool educator. As we have met and spoken with families in our community, both during and prior to our current pandemic situation, we recognize a need for resources - especially for families with neuro-diverse kiddos. We all learn differently and have individual strengths and stumbling blocks. For youth with diagnoses such as Autism, spectrum disorders, ADHD, Downs Syndrome, or even trauma, change can be particularly jarring. This post is intended to share support and resources for ongoing communication with your kiddo about COVID-19 and how that is impacting them personally, your home and family, and other communities they are a part of.
Social distancing is hard for almost anybody (except for maybe introverts!), but for our kids on the autism spectrum who have issues with communication, comprehension, the insistence of sameness of routine, social (separation) distancing, and issues with new online/remote learning policies, it can be totally overwhelming. So, what helps?
A lot of our kids on the spectrum don’t just thrive with a set schedule they RELY on a set schedule. For youth whose lives have been historically uncertain, such as placement in foster or kinship care, routine provides safety and comfort. For some kids, school might be the most routine part of their day and now they don’t even have that. Here are some things we can try to help alleviate the hours of unscheduled time that are suddenly a part of our kids’ days:
Social Distancing means that places our kids find joy in are suddenly closed - no riding lessons, no swim lessons, no playdates at Alameda Park. These outlets are important to our overall health and wellness, and losing that is stressful for kids. Some of these experiences can be replaced and some simply cannot, but here are a few things you might try:
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The Butler County Family YMCA is a non-profit, charitable organization open to all people, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, ability or income. Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.