When the first lockdown took place, schools were closed for over five months, between the lockdown and summer holidays. This was a long time. It did have a detrimental impact on many children, but I believe many children with autism felt the impact the most.
I have spoken to many parents over the past few days about this and it is easy to understand why there is so much anxiety and worry over this lockdown. Luckily in the lockdown before Christmas schools were able to stay open and carry on as normal. Unfortunately this just wasn’t the case this time round. However, I am sure it will be a much shorter lockdown than last which will hopefully mean the impact won’t be as severe on our students.
Many teachers have also contacted me seeking advice on how to support their students. Its difficult for me to advise as every child is so different and the lockdown will impact on all children to varying levels. Some children will thrive at home in their home environments, I know of a child who had been pre-verbal prior to the last lockdown and that child began using words over the lockdown at home and has loads of words now. Other children will miss school and may fall behind, but they will catch up. I think that is important to note- we will be able to work hard once the lockdown is over and make up for these few weeks. Children, in my experience, are very resilient. If you visit the facebook or instagram page ‘Inspired by Autism’ you will find lots of useful resources and social stories to help get you started, alongside the Little Puddins page and website which I will link here :
The Middletown Centre for Autism is an excellent resource too:
The main advice I can give as a teacher is to not put your child or your students under too much pressure- they have enough to contend with. Just build it up gradually. Some children might sit and work for fifteen minutes at home, others though they will do it in school will struggle to do this at home in their comfortable home environment! The lockdown is a good time to work on essential life skills, I have linked a post to this below. I also have free samples of task analysis sheets for those who want to work on specific tasks. A one size fits all approach will not work in an ASD class, so each child will require their own tailored work programme. I suggest starting this week and next with revision of all you have done with your students since September- be it written work, social skills or life skills.
I wrote many blog posts previously on how best to support your students which I will link here: