How to explain ‘The New Normal’ to Children with Autism

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explaining new normal to children, child wearing face mask

‘The New Normal’, is something that adult’s across the world may find difficult to comprehend. However, as shops, restaurants and other businesses begin to safely reopen, its important that the whole family understands what the ‘new normal’ means for them.

Explaining, ‘The New Normal’, to children, especially children with autism, can be difficult, as the topic is rather confusing. With that in mind, we’ve put together some top tips on how you can introduce the new normal to your child, putting any worries they may have at rest.

At Alee behavioral, we have years of experience working with children with autism and related disorders, and we are always on hand to offer support to those who need it – whether that be through online or in person therapy. Our services range from ABA (applied behavioral analysis) to speech therapy. Find out more about our services.

1) Keep it Simple

As when explaining anything to a child, its important that you keep it simple. When talking to them about COVID-19, try and use terms that they would know and understand, as opposed to something more complicated.

Do: Utilize online materials designed especially for children. Here is a great example.

Don’t: Use sources typically designed for adults, such as news reports. Though you can help your child understand better by summarizing what they see on the news in simpler terms.

2) Make a list

Another way of helping your child adjust to the ‘new normal’, is by sitting down together and making a list of things that have changed/haven’t changed. Here is a great example.

Things that have changed:

  • We have to make sure we keep our distance from our friends/family.
  • We might have to wear a mask when out in public.
  • We might have to avoid public transport and take more walks instead.

Things that have not changed:

  • We can still see our friends and family.
  • We can still go to school and learn new things.
  • We can still have fun outside.

3) Keep Positive

Encourage your children to reach out if they need help, especially during this difficult time. Make it clear that you are always there to offer support and will do your best to answer any questions they might have.

Try to be positive in your responses. Tell them that although this may be the new normal, we are still adjusting and things WILL get better!

4) Have Fun

Find ways of making the ‘new normal’ fun and exciting!

Create some new games that they can play with their friends or siblings that comply to social distancing guidelines.

Teach your children the importance of cleanliness during this time – especially when it comes to washing their hands more regularly. One way of making this more fun is by listening to music when washing your hands, ensuring that you wash them thoroughly each time.

Remember, your child with autism may be exempt from wearing a mask, as they may find it particularly uncomfortable or distressing to wear one. However, if they feel comfortable wearing a mask – why not get creative and design your own?

The New and Changing Normal

The world around is changing rapidly. As we move forward, there are still more changes to come, so it is important that we find ways to adjust to the new (and changing) normal. However, if you follow the above advice, and allow your child space to ask any questions, things will be a lot easier. The most important thing during this time is ensuring the safety of your family and others!