Top 5 Tips for Special Needs during CV19
Recent studies have shown that those who have special needs have been adversely affected by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. This apparent respiratory virus is known to cause fevers and breathing issues among those who have been diagnosed. Unfortunately, those with intellectual disabilities and other special needs are experiencing higher rates of infection than those without.
As the number of infections in the United States and Canada surpass 100,000 cases, it’s more important than ever to take care of those with special needs. Whether you have special needs yourself or you’re trying to better help your loved one, here are some of the top tips you can use to stay healthier in the face of CV19.
1. Make masks fun
One of the most important ways to stop the spread of infection is by wearing a mask. In fact, medical centers are saying that wearing a face mask is crucial to flattening the curve. Not only do face masks stop you from breathing in contaminants that result in the virus, but they also stop you, as a potential virus carrier, from spreading it to other people.
At this stage, we must all act like everyone is infected — including yourself. Unfortunately, many people are not wearing masks; after all, masks are uncomfortable and they’re easy to forget when you’re going on a quick trip to the store. But it’s because of people failing to wear their masks that numbers are on the rise again.
For those with special needs, wearing a mask might seem impossible. This is especially true for people with sensory processing disorders, like autism or Down syndrome. One of the best ways that we can encourage those with special needs to wear masks is by making them fun.
You can craft your own masks together using fun patterns and colorful designs. Crafting a mask on their own will also encourage folks with disabilities to enjoy the fruits of their labor. If you’re not great at sewing, you can invest in an array of mask options from different retailers. That way, you can wear a different mask every time you leave the house. Instead of simply telling someone to put on the mask, giving them the option to choose which one will make it seem like their own decision. This is key when masks are uncomfortable for folks with special needs.
2. Bring hand sanitizer wherever you go
One of the best ways to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus is by washing your hands. When you’re out shopping for food or going to the bank, however, you might not have access to a bathroom. Regardless, you will likely touch a lot of objects during your time out of the house. As such, bringing hand sanitizer is one of the best ways to stop germs from sticking around.
This is especially essential for people with special needs who might touch their faces more often. Try investing in hand sanitizers that smell good for the person with special needs. Few people like the smell of the abrasive alcohol in unscented versions so buying options that your loved one can tolerate will make all the difference.
3. Go on virtual outings
At the end of the day, you’re putting yourself and your loved ones at risk whenever you leave the house. If you don’t have access to a backyard or big park nearby, virtual outings are a great way to stave off feelings of claustrophobia.
For example, many zoos and aquariums are offering virtual tours of their facilities along with live webcams of some of their animals. This is a great learning opportunity for children with disabilities, as well. If you’re not interested in animals, there are also cultural videos and tourism television programs that can make you feel more connected to the outside world, even when you’re stuck indoors.
Perhaps best of all, you can also attend a virtual date with your friends and family members. While zoom fatigue is a real thing, the occasional video chat with a good friend or respected community leader can be essential in feeling connected to the ones you love.
4. Stay active
It’s not uncommon for people social distancing to feel anxious and fatigued at this time. That’s why it’s important to stay active now more than ever.
Engaging in a regular exercise routine is key in maintaining your mental health and keeping your body strong. Exercising releases endorphins and hormones that can reduce feelings of stress and promote feelings of happiness. On top of that, exercise is pivotal in maintaining higher levels of energy which is important while we’re staying inside all day.
For those with special needs, exercise is especially important during the time of CV19. In young children, ample exercise is key. It enables them to engage with others, become more attuned with their body, and help with gross motor functioning. In teenagers and adults, exercise is vital in maintaining their fine motor skills, improving their balance, and keeping mental processing skills sharp.
You can establish a healthy workout routine at home or try to get outdoors as long as you’re staying safe. The CDC recommends staying at least six feet apart from others at this time. But going to a wide-open park or a secluded hike with family members is a safe way to get the exercise you need. Keep away from potentially dangerous activities. Riding a bike or rollerblading are two examples of this. Unless your loved one has ample experience on these devices, you never know when a sudden loss of balance could result in a trip to the hospital or a collision with another person. In both scenarios, catching CV19 is a serious threat.
When you go out, be sure to bring that facial covering and a bottle of hand sanitizer to stay safe.
5. Remember that consistency is key
Those with special needs thrive when their days are more structured. That means waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, eating meals at regular intervals, and including fun, familiar activities. Along with providing a regular routine for your loved one, pointing out when things have stayed the same is also important.
After all, the world has changed in many ways over the last few months. Identifying the familiar can help keep someone with disabilities grounded. Try to watch the same television shows, play the same games, and eat familiar foods. Now is not the time for exploring too many new things. For folks with special needs, a consistent lifestyle suits them the best.
Thriving in the world of CV19 is hard, but it can be especially difficult for those with special needs. Rely on these tips when you want to take better care of yourself and your loved ones.