All right, we’re not quite there yet. No national shutdown has been announced. In fact, local governments around the United States have spoken against such action — which shows a somewhat ignorant and indifferent view of how bad the coronavirus covid-19 outbreak could become. But parents are still worried — and rightly so — about the possibility of being cooped up at home with young kids who suffer from sensory processing disorder as the reality of a national quarantine becomes ever more likely.
The biggest issue that kids with SPD must deal with is hypersensitivity to a number of senses, including tactile sensation or sound. That means the biggest thing you need to keep in mind as a parent is what’s going on around the house.
With all the kids at home at once, there can be a greatly increased level of anxiety. But the reverse can occur as well. There can be a lot of excitement, feelings of aggression, depression, and a desire for exercise. These feelings can be even more exacerbated once the family dog realizes that you’re not going to work and they’re not going to school. He’s going to love the extra attention.
But for your sake and for that of your kids’, it might be necessary to implement a divide and conquer tactic while you’re stuck inside.
What does that mean? First, keep your older kids separated from the younger ones. Keep them locked away playing video games in the basement while you spend time with anyone suffering from a behavioral or developmental disorder like ADHD or the autism spectrum. You can make sure there are no loud noises or unwanted contact in the room. If Fluffy the family dog makes your child feel better, then by all means — invite him into the room.
Limit television, smartphone, and computer use. Encourage learning exercises like reading. If teachers have provided homework while school is canceled, be careful to ration how much your child does at any one time. Your goal is to keep them from feeling overwhelmed while providing the same nurturing environment in which they excel.
When reading and homework aren’t options, try board games. Spend a chunk of time cleaning to divert any energy your child may have building up inside. Try listening to music. When all else fails, then it’s time for a little TV — but try not to overdo it, and be sure to turn it off well before bedtime.