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Protecting Your Special Needs Child During Their Extended Break At Home
Schools across the nation and around the world are being shut down in order to contain the Coronavirus. Now more than ever AngelSense can help you keep your child safe and help you go through these difficult times with the kids at home.
Added Protection During High Anxiety Times
Sudden changes to schedules, canceled events, and school being shut down can all result in a higher level of stress and anxiety for your child with autism or special needs. They can also pick up on the overall non-stop worrying and conversations about the news. Anxiety, as well as boredom, are known triggers for wandering episodes and why it’s important, now more than ever, to make sure to use your AngelSense GPS device at home.
It’s also important to watch out for regression. If your child hasn’t eloped in a long time, be cautious that the added stress, new routine, and canceled therapy sessions could spark unpredictable behaviors. Make sure to be on high alert, especially during the first few weeks as this is unchartered territory for everyone.
The added anxiety and restlessness has some of our children with autism displaying behaviors we’ve never seen before. You can’t be too careful when dealing with times that are so unexpected and unknown to us.
On top of all of this, you are most likely under pressure to work remotely, entertaining or helping your other children with online classes, preparing lunch, doing laundry, and everything else an extended stay at home requires. Having an extra set of eyes on your child is crucial when you can’t give them your full attention all day.
Here are some things to remember while using your device at home:
- Make sure the battery is charged – when you’re not leaving the house and your routine has changed it’s easy to forget about charging your device.
- Make sure your phone or computer is on and that sound notifications are on – it can be easy to forget to check your phone when dealing with a house full of stir-crazy kids.
- Make sure the device stays on your child – sometimes kids are more likely to remove clothing while at home, this is why we recommend using the non-removable AngelSense belt.
- Make sure to update your school schedule in the School Dashboard that there is no school – or if your child will be going to a babysitter you might consider adding them as a school guardian and adjusting the hours.
- Make sure to keep your daily routine of putting AngelSense on, so you won’t have to go through a process of getting used to it again once school starts back up.
Getting Out of the House
Making sure your child with autism or special needs gets out of the house and is getting enough exercise will not only help relax their anxiety, it will also help you manage your stress levels. Protect your child by using AngelSense while on walks, at the park, at the playground, in the backyard and anywhere else elopement is likely to occur.
It will also give you peace of mind, if your child goes out with siblings without you. Being able to check in and see where they are can alleviate a lot of stress when giving your child more independence.
If you have to go, even a simple trip to the supermarket or Target can be more relaxing knowing that you’ll be able to find your child if they run off or hide. These are stressful times and there is no need to add more stress to your day by not having your child wear their AngelSense.
In addition, with Coronavirus and all the mass hysteria, emergency personnel may have delayed response times – It’s definitely better not to take any chances.
Practice Makes Perfect
With extra time at home, it is a good opportunity to practice using certain features while keeping your child entertained. Here are a few ideas from our moms:
- Voice Features: Go in separate rooms and practice using the 2-way voice features and teach them to respond to remote voice prompts. It is a great tool for developing more independence and assisting during a meltdown when you’re not with them, so now is the perfect time to practice. When your kids are outside playing or out of sight, use 1-way voice to quickly check on them. You can also use the 2-way voice to let them know to come back in or that lunch is ready.
- SOS / Call Request Button: You can change the settings on your app to determine how many times your child has to press the button to send you a notification. Have your child practice this at home, so the next time they are away from you they’ll know what to do when they need you. Try different settings to see what works best for you and them.
- Step Counter: Being stuck at home can sometimes mean hours in front of the TV or computer. Make sure your child is getting enough physical activity by monitoring the step counter. It is fun for them to see the numbers go up and you can even make a chart so they can track their daily steps and encourage them to be more active. If they’re with a caregiver or other family member you can check to make sure they are keeping your child active as well.
- 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: A game of hide and seek can help you practice using your alarm and help your child get used to it. You can also use it to help train your child to come home or out of hiding when they hear it.
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. Our Customer Care Team is made up of moms with children with special needs. They work from home and are very familiar with using AngelSense. They have great tips and advice, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help using any of our elaborate array of features.
If you’re not already a member of our private Facebook Group it is a good time to check it out. There are so many parents who are in the same boat as you. They are great at supporting each other, especially during times that are a bit more stressful. Share ideas for activities, ask for help using AngelSense, or just get some emotional support to help you get through an unexpected break from school.
This too shall pass! Stay strong, safe, and healthy… We hope everything goes smoothly – Keep us posted!