Coronavirus and Masks
Just when I thought I finally learned my lesson well,
There was more to this than meets the eye
And for all the things you taught me, only time will tell,
If I’ll be able to survive, oh yeah38 Special
I was hoping 2020 wouldn’t come to this.
It’s been a rough start, no one is going to argue with that. I was hoping the ride would smooth out. And by smooth out I mean, kids would return to school this year mask-free in a world without the Corona Virus.
It doesn’t look like this is going to happen.
This year just feels like we are all taking cover waiting for the next crisis. Let’s talk about how we can make this situation easier.
Back To School
Here are the facts:
- School is going to start for the new year
- The Corona virus is still active with new cases reported daily.
- Masks are required in many states and strongly suggested in all of them
- Social distancing is enforced. Either stay at your home or 6 feet away from others
- School districts are presenting their reopening plans starting this week.
Coronavirus and Masks
Wearing a mask is a big pain.
Hands down this has not been a great experience. As a nurse, I have been wearing a mask to visit each of my patients since this whole virus started.
I don’t like it because my glasses fog up and my patients have a hard time understanding me. We understand communication by watching faces as people talk to us. Masks take away those visual cues.
Sensory Processing and Masks
For a child with sensory, touch and texture intolerance, masks are scratchy, tight around the face, create warm, recycled air on the face, cause garbled speech which makes it hard to hear and causes miscommunication
Kids with autism who are used to understanding communication through reading facial expressions or lips,
Wearing A Mask Help
For the time being, masks are here to stay. We already now this will be a difficult skill for many kids with autism. So let’s get into actions to help your child wear a mask.
- Advanced Planning You know right now that wearing a mask is going to happen. Take 10 minutes daily and talk about wearing a mask. Take note of your child’s specific objections.
- Access Social Stories Social stories are short, specific stories created to walk your child through a situation and mentally practice the process.
- Visual Aids Use a daily calendar to help your child see when he will use the mask. ie-Monday 9 am-12 am
- Practice Show your child how to put the mask on and take it off. Have them demonstrate. Tell them today let’s practice wearing the mask for 10 minutes.
- Find online resources: PBS for Parents, Kindercare.com, People.com, Join the Sesame Street Mask Club
Practice with different masks:
Outing Try a short trip out with your child’s mask in place. If going out in public isn’t an option, try going on a walk in your neighborhood or a park.
Picture Take a picture of your child with their favorite mask on. Place the picture next to their daily calendar.
Autism Mask Issues
Anxiety Kid’s with autism often have anxiety. Any type of covering to the face can make this worse.
Sensory Scratchy, hot, pulling, touching, snapping, and how are they going to eat lunch?
Vision Have you worn glasses with a mask yet?
Seizures Kids with autism often have seizures. Wearing a mask could possibly lead to hyperventilation and in turn a seizure
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Smell You are going to be spending a lot of time smelling your own breath
Communication Communicating with a mask on relies on eye contact. Kids with autism often have a lot of difficulty with eye contact which will decrease the ability to communicate
Self soothing Masks prohibit self soothing through chewies and oral sensory aides.