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Thursday 07 May 2020

Sources of support during Coronavirus

At Ambitious about Autism, we know that many families are going through a really tough time.

Disruption to education, changes to routine and the withdrawal of support services are all having a big impact.

We know from reaching out and speaking to parents and young people that finding autism-specific information is difficult and that advice around health and wellbeing, self-regulation, education and legal support is lacking.

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing lots more information, advice and guidance in these areas.


Support for health and wellbeing  

Times of instability can have physical and emotional consequences. We know there is no single answer to a healthy body and mind, so it’s important to find out what works for you and seek help from a professional if you need to.

Here are some helpful resources.  

For children and young people: 
  • Our Know Your Normal toolkit, developed by autistic young people, helps young people and those around them to recognise when they are feeling more anxious and worried than normal. 
  • Speak to people about how you feel, The Young Minds blog supports young people with anxiety around Coronavirus and those coping with other mental health issues too.  
  • See our anxiety tips written by one of our Youth Patrons or read the Uncertainty, anxiety and the Coronavirus pandemic article which has specific information to support autistic young people struggling with anxiety.  
  • Opening Doors has an easy read information pack on how to keep safe and healthy and explains key phrases around Coronavirus. 
For parents, carers and advocates:  
  • Our Support for Families page has information and tips on families supporting a child with autism,  a downloadable parent handbook and tips about how families can manage anxiety
  • Rethink has an online Coronavirus Hub with information and tips to support positive mental health for parents during this time. You can also call the MIND helpline.
  • Sensory Integration Education has some handy tips on handwashing for those with sensory difficulties.  
  • This social story for anxiety gives some suggestions about how to cope when a situation feels overwhelming.  


Self-regulation and behaviours that challenge   

Parents and carers and autistic young people themselves have reported that self-regulation and behaviour have become a greater priority since Coronavirus. Some feel the heightened sense of anxiety and changes to routine has caused an increase in mood swings, meltdowns and escalations. Here are some useful resources to support emotional regulation at this challenging time: 

  • Read about identifying the purpose or function of behaviour followed by tips around how to minimise it. 
  • Our planners help support daily structure, these editable versions mean you can plan your routine daily or weekly.  
  • Learn about social and emotional learning games to play with your child, helping them to recognise and regulate their emotions.  
  • The Zones of Regulation is a framework used in some schools designed to foster self-regulation and emotional management. The Coronavirus-specific resources help navigate the challenges of social distancing, including proactive ideas for supporting your child and taking care of yourself.   
  • Find out how to build a Calm Jar, a really good way to support self-regulation.  


Legal support  

Local authorities and the NHS have duties to support those with additional care needs. For details around how some legal issues have been affected by Coronavirus, see below:  


We are currently developing more information, advice and guidance so we can continue supporting children and young people with autism and their families during this challenging time.