COVID-19 impacts children with autism, families work to find structure

Coronavirus

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s structure and schedules, but especially so for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Venus and Robert Bragg are grandparents to four-year-old “B.”

“It’s hard. It has been really hard. She’ll ask to go “bye-bye.” She wants to get french fries or she wants to go to the store. We don’t want to do that right now,” said Venus.

After Milestones Behavioral Services in Conway closed due to the outbreak, the Braggs started teaching B from home.

“I think the structure is the most important thing with autism. It’s as little as not taking a bath on time that can really mess them up. I think the structure is so important,” said Venus.

B is used to a hands-on learning environment. Her teachers are Milestones are working with parents to bring similar lessons at home.

“We’re hoping to use stuff like this, video chat, just to kind of coach them through what a session will look like through the clinic, but at home,” said co-owner Melissa Farah.

Farah says children with autism usually thrive on schedules and consistency.

She says parents should set clear expectations, break-up harder work into smaller sections, provide positive reinforcement, take plenty of breaks and adjust where needed.

“Parents, be kind to yourselves throughout this process. Take breaks when you need it and really lean on your providers. We’re here to help you. We’re not leaving you alone. You’re not alone,” said Farah.

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