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School Canceled? Protect Your Autistic Child During Uncertain Times
We’re entering uncharted territory, with school closures and a drastic change in our family’s and our children’s routines. Now more than ever it is important to keep our vulnerable loved ones safe with added protection at home. Below are some ways we can help and a printable weekly schedule to help establish a new routine with some tips from our moms.
As we all know, watching our child 24/7 is just not realistic, especially when many of us are having to balance working remotely with taking care of our other children as well. Just doing chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry can be distracting. Using AngelSense helps put our minds at ease and feel more comfortable when we can’t give them our full attention, making a stressful time a bit less stressful.
“My son ran off today while we were on a typical walk with the dogs, he never does this. He also tried to elope while I was on a work call. Clearly these changes are sparking unusual behavior so we won’t take any chances. He’ll have his AngelSense on at all times.” – Doron, AngelSense Co-Founder
Greater Risk During Times of Higher Anxiety
It’s easy to forget sometimes, but our children can pick up on our stress levels, and like everyone else’s, they’re soaring right now. The atmosphere of uncertainty and unprecedented precautions is bound to put even the calmest of us on edge. There are a lot of unknowns and our children can definitely sense that something is up.
On top of this, their routine has suddenly and unexpectedly changed without being able to ease them into it or provide answers as to when things will return to normal. Many of us have experienced that the sudden schedule changes, canceled therapy sessions, not going to school, and more has greatly impacted our children with autism or special needs’, especially their anxiety levels.
“I homeschool my son with autism, but the added stress and having my other kids at home is making him restless and anxious. I don’t usually use AngelSense at home, but I’ll make sure he’s wearing it while he adjusts to these unexpected changes.” – Shanda, AngelSense Customer Care Mom
As one of our child’s therapists pointed out, It’s important to be aware that it is common for kids with autism to regress during times of high anxiety and with many parents having to cancel therapy sessions as well, the odds are even higher that past behaviors could return. What’s going on could trigger a child who hasn’t eloped in a long time to suddenly start again. We know the dangers both personally and professionally and feel a responsibility to encourage everyone to be as safe as possible.
Restlessness and boredom can also pose problems when it comes to wandering. As we move into this new way of living for a while, we all know we need to be as alert as possible. If wandering is currently an issue or has been in the past, it may be a good time to look into adding AngelSense to your safety measures.
Watch Out for Regression
Many of our children have worked so hard to overcome challenging behaviors and we’re all a little nervous that they will regress during this transition. Many parents have told us that they’ve had to cancel therapy sessions on top of having their child’s routine suddenly changed. It’s not unlikely that we could see past behaviors return.
We don’t really know what to expect, but we can be prepared. If your child once had a tendency to elope but hasn’t done so in a long time, it’s important to take safety measures just in case it starts up again. When it comes to their safety, there is no such thing as being too careful.
AngelSense is committed to protecting our most vulnerable loved ones, and our customer care moms are going through all of this as well and since they already work from home, they’ll be available to answer any of your questions.
Safety During Outings
Right now, trips to the supermarket or Target or Costco can be hectic. Having an AngelSense device can help you keep track of your child if they separated from you, hide, or run off. Even if you’re extra careful, accidents happen and it is better to be as safe as possible. It will also give you some peace of mind, that we can all use right now.
While stuck at home, it is important that our children with autism or special needs go for walks, play in the yard, or if allowed go to the park. Being cooped up all day is a recipe for disaster, so getting exercise will help reduce their anxiety and calm them a bit. This applies to you and them! We all need to take some time to go out and get some fresh air. We find that having their AngelSense GPS on reduces our stress during these outings. Knowing exactly where your child is and knowing you can find them as soon as possible if they run will make outings more enjoyable for all of you.
Older siblings are often responsible for taking their brother or sister with autism or special needs out for a bit. If they go out without you, AngelSense will allow you to check in, see where they are, and even see their ETA. This will help you give them more independence and give you some peace and quiet at home.
“We’re all in the same boat, not really knowing what to expect and having our lives changed over night. AngelSense is definitely helping me keep my sanity in this situation. I have to work from home and can’t watch him as closely as I normally do. Having AngelSense I can focus on work, knowing he’s safe and I’ll be alerted if he leaves the house.” – Karen, Autism Mom
Using AngelSense at Home for Safety
- Intelligent iAlerts: If your child leaves the house or backyard you’ll know right away. This will give you some peace of mind while you try to balance maintaining the house, taking care of other kids, working, and keeping an eye on your child with autism or special needs. Having an extra set of eyes on them will take some of the stress off of you during this hectic transition.
- Accurate and Reliable GPS Tracking: If your child does elope, our real-time, live tracking will get you to them as quickly as possible. We have an array of tools to provide the highest level of protection for real-life emergencies.
- Assistive Speakerphone: Easily speak with and communicate with your child without them having to pick up or press anything. This feature has helped so many parents keep their child safe and calm during an elopement. It is often used to assist a caregiver or babysitter soothe the child during a meltdown. When at home, it can also be used to listen in when they’re in the next room or to let them know dinner is ready :o)
- More Independence: You’ll feel more comfortable letting your child with autism go to the park or for a walk with their siblings or other family members when they are wearing AngelSense. Many of our moms never would have let their child out of their sight before using AngelSense, but can now give them more freedom. And after a few days, you’ll probably be ready for a break from a full house.
- Safe Ride Monitoring: Just because your child isn’t riding the school bus doesn’t mean you can’t put transit tracking to use. Monitor their route, speed, and check on their ETA if they are out with another family member or caregiver.
- Alarm: When you’re out at the supermarket, it can be easy to get separated and lose track of your child. The alarm can help you easily find them if they are hiding or in a crowd. You can also use the assistive speakerphone to talk to them and you’ll get an alert if they leave the store. With people swarming stores and panicking it’s a good idea to take extra care during outings if you have to go.
Helping Your Child Adjust to Changes in Routine
We put together some useful information to help you discuss Coronavirus with your child and some activities to help them learn about hygiene and adjust to the unexpected change in their schedule. Read Coronavirus and Autism: What You Need to Know
One of the suggestions was to make a daily schedule to provide structure and set expectations for each day. Here are some suggestions for what to include:
- Getting Ready for the Day: Just because they aren’t going to school doesn’t mean you should skip getting ready in the morning. The more you can do to simulate what they would do on a regular school day will help them ease into the transition. Add things like brushing teeth, taking a bath or shower, getting dressed, making their bed, and of course putting on their AngelSense.
- Meals and Snacks: Considering having set times for meals and snacks, preferably at the same time they would have them at school.
- Study Time: A lot of schools are providing online lessons or sending school work and exercise home. It’s important that they don’t fall behind and having set study times will help them stay focused.
- Therapy Exercises: Your therapy sessions may be canceled, so it’s important to reinforce what they are working on with home exercises. Coordinate with your therapist for ideas and how much time should be dedicated each day.
- Play Time: They may be at home, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get a recess. Scheduling set times to play will give them something to look forward to and keep them engaged in other less fun activities.
- Exercise: Whether it is a walk around the block, yoga, or a game of tag make sure they get enough physical activity and like we mentioned earlier, the step counter is a great tool for monitoring this.
- Bedtime: You probably already have a set bedtime routine, but one of our moms suggested adding an extra 30 mins to an hour before bedtime if the day’s schedule was followed. You can use stars or stickers to track progress throughout the day.
We’re Here for You
AngelSense cares about you and your child. We created an autism GPS tracker because we ourselves have children with special needs and wanted something to protect them and give us more peace of mind as parents. It is exactly during these times of transitions and added anxiety that we find AngelSense to be the most helpful and necessary.
Since school was canceled we’ve noticed behaviors that our children with autism have never displayed before. Like we mentioned earlier, this is unchartered territory and we are all sure to experience challenges at this time. Now more than ever, we’re grateful that we have AngelSense to help us keep them safe!
Our Customer Care Team is working from home and available to answer any of your questions. They are moms with children with autism and know what you’re going through. They have great tips and advice and are ready to help you decide whether AngelSense makes sense for your child right now.