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Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Blog

Coronavirus Outbreak and the Autism Community

Thursday, March 19, 2020
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By:  DBP team

With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), healthy habits and lifestyle changes have become imperative to limiting the spread of the coronavirus. Autism Speaks has given several suggestions for how to stay safe and inform your family about this emerging situation. 

As per CDC recommendation:

  1. Good handwashing hygiene is imperative – wash your hands with hot water and soap for 20 seconds or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not accessible.
  2. Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  3. If you are feeling sick, stay home but if you do need to leave the house, then wear a mask.
  4. Disinfect common surfaces such as countertops, doorknobs, railings, and light switches.

If you are caring for a child or family member with autism, this can be an incredibly confusing time for them. Here are some suggestions for how to inform your child without frightening them:

  1. Before your children hear about this from somewhere else, make sure to talk to them and educate them about the facts.
  2. Telling them a story or showing them pictures may be helpful.
  3. Give your children time to process and reassure them that you are there to answer questions
  4. Keep an eye out for changes in routine or behaviors that may indicate distress or anxiety.

For more information about the coronavirus, please visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Fprevention.html