Categories: ASD and DD, Child-focused; COVID-19 Topics
[This column was published in The West Springfield Republican on 5/14/20.]
By Brittany Juban, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D
Throughout Massachusetts – and across the country – parents and guardians whose children can no longer attend school are facing the challenge of educating and entertaining their young students at home. As many caregivers have discovered over the past few weeks, this can be a daunting task!
For students with autism and other developmental disabilities – and for all children – it is very important to establish a regular routine that works well with your family routine. You will want to schedule time for learning, playing (exercising), being creative (artwork), helping with household chores, eating, and sleeping. And don’t forget to make time for regular “breaks” when your child can choose what he or she wants to do!
My colleague Jenna Garvey, a Clinical Director at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in West Springfield, recommends creating a schedule that is tailored to meet your student’s and family’s needs. Consider one of the following formats:
Dr. Whitney Kleinert, Director of School Consultation for May Institute, offers the following tips for using a schedule at home:
Although there are many online resources available, it can be challenging to sift through them all and determine which may be the most beneficial for your child. My May Institute colleagues Leah Kaufman, an occupational therapist, and Marja Ruderman, a speech language pathologist, recommend the COVID-19 resources on the Autism Speaks and Autism Society of America websites as well as the Autism Focused Intervention Resources & Modules (AFIRM) website’s COVID-19 toolkit. They also offer the following tips:
Brittany Juban, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, is a Clinical Director at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in West Springfield, Mass. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May Institute is a nonprofit organization that is a national leader in the field of applied behavior analysis, serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, brain injury and neurobehavioral disorders, and other special needs. Founded more than 65 years ago, we provide a wide range of exceptional educational and rehabilitative services across the lifespan. May Institute operates five schools for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities, including one in West Springfield, Mass. For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.