COVID-19 and our Autism Community
The situation around the current spread of COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we constantly keep ourselves updated, as we know you do too. We do not wish to bombard you with more information but we felt it was important to collate a selection of useful autism specific resources, and also to provide you with some guidance about RFA.
We’re monitoring and staying up to date with UK Government and Public Health England Guidance and are following their advice as the situation evolves. Our priority remains the wellbeing of our staff and the people we support.
In light of recent guidance, we have taken the decision to stop running clubs after next week, including Easter Scheme until further notice. We are putting contingency plans in place to be able to offer you support. In the next few days a member of staff will contact you in order to consult what support you need and we will make sure we are there for you as much as we possibly can through this difficult and uncertain time. Some of the plans we are putting in place include:
- Replacing club with 1:1 support where that is necessary/wanted and appropriate. That could take place at home.
- Setting up skype/video sessions for those adults we support who may find it useful.
- Setting up an emergency helpline for all parents/carers/users to ring us if you want to talk to someone, ask advice, ask for emergency support
- Food drops for families in quarantine
- A pack with useful strategies/resources (if we get funding) for supporting you support your child at home if schools close (particularly useful for Orange House parents)
In order to protect our users and our staff and keep our services running as much as possible we ask that, If anyone in your family is feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms you let us know.
It may seem obvious, but a few precautions can go a long way to stop germs from spreading. Here are some tips from the NHS:
Talking to your children about what is happening
We acknowledge that this advice may not be applicable to all but to some may be of help. If you are caring for a child or family member with autism, it’s important to talk with them about coronavirus to ensure they have the information they need, but without unnecessarily frightening them.
- Talk with your children before they hear about it elsewhere, so you can understand what they know and provide facts appropriate to their age and understanding.
- Communicate in a way that your child prefers, such as pictures or stories. Helpful guidance in the form of social story that we are using is attached.
- Allow your child to process the information. Perhaps read and repeat the flu story a few times to them.
- Attached is a washing hands guidance in a symbol format that could be put in the bathroom or carried round for help in public places.
- There is a great, free online tool that generates hand washing infographics based on your favourite song lyrics. You can find it here and attached is a poster.
- BBC Newsround has a number of videos around the topic to help young people understand the issue better.
Coronavirus: Dr Chris answers YOUR questions (BBC Newsround). You can find it here
We know full well that these times can be even more stressful for our children, young people and adults on the spectrum, who may find unknowns very unsettling. If you are worried that disruptions to our services will have a particularly detrimental effect, please get in touch to discuss concerns in more detail.
We care deeply about the wellbeing of our community and we are doing our utmost best to continue providing support to you during this period.