Here are the facts:
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.