Parents of children living with Autism face unique challenges during COVID-19 restrictions

Updated: Mar. 27, 2020 at 10:23 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - Families everywhere are facing new challenges involved with suddenly teaching kids from home.

It is a total shift in routine and a big adjustment for many families, and a unique challenge for parents of children who live with Autism.

Lori Price’s dining room looks like many others right now – papers strewn across the table, kids learning from home because of COVID-19.

But the reality for this Gastonia mom is that setting up learning experiences for her kids can be a little different than it is for others.

“We’re in a time right now where everything’s different, and it’s not working for these kids,” Price says.

Her 8-year-old son Damien lives with autism, and her 11-year-old daughter Alex with ADHD. With children who experience challenges with changes in routine, it makes a big shift like this difficult.

“Right now, we are far from routine,” she says. “Every day, it’s something’s changing.”

She says the school system is doing its best, sending home EC packets along with the grade level material. Groups like Autism Speaks are sharing resources for parents everywhere, who are trying to make things work.

For Price, a new stay at home order for her county Friday puts another change in motion.

“We’ve been going and doing things,” she says. “But now, everything’s closing down, so it’s a little bit different. We’ll find new routines as things change.’

She will continue trying to make things work within their home.

“With Autism, there’s one side or the other, there is no grey area,” Price says. “So, without having that grey area for [Damien], he looks at me and goes, ‘You’re not my teacher, you’re my mom.’”

The family is taking things day by day, she says.

“A lot of tantrums, a lot of fussing,” she says. “But we get through and we manage, and every day pray for a better day.”

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