For Autistic Adults and Parents of Teens with Autism in Palo Alto, CA and beyond
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are dedicated to continuously providing tips and support to people with autism, their loved ones, and their providers. We know that it can be overwhelming to sift through the different resources available online. Every day more and more are being added.
Coping with Stress During (and after) COVID
During the COVID 19 outbreak, we want to boost our immune system. However, stress can weaken our immune system. If you are on the autism spectrum, you might normally feel stressed out by social interactions and sensory overload. The good news is, sheltering in place is reducing exposure to these daily stressors for you. However, you might be feeling worried about the pandemic or finding it difficult to adjust to a different routine or lack of daily structure. You might be feeling even more lonely.
This resource page provides you with a variety of resources to support your health, wellbeing, and academic or professional success during the pandemic.
If you are a parent with a child on the spectrum, you might be feeling stressed out. More is being demanded of you. Now you are taking care of your child 24/7, and taking on a teacher role by supporting your child with online learning. You are needing to clean and cook more often. You might be doing all of this while continuing to work full-time, remotely. We are here to provide you help and support.
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Below are some tips and suggestions on things you can do to reduce stress and strengthen your immune system. Whether you are an autistic adult or parent of a child with autism, these are all helpful things that you can do while sheltering in place.
Blogs & Books for Autistic Adults and Parents of Children on the Spectrum
For those of you who feel like you have more time on your hands due to sheltering in place, or are just in need of support, reading informative blogs can help! If you are an autistic adult, you can use this time to read about topics of interest or learn more about neurodiversity. If you are a parent of a child with autism, blogs can help you learn how to better cope with sheltering in place with your family.
- Benefits of Sheltering in Place for People with Autism
- Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times
- Autism Society of Minnesota Guide to Managing Self-Quarantine and Social Distancing (developed by autistic adults)
- Autism Society: COVID-19 Mental Health and Respite
- Taking care in a pandemic, Finn Gratton
- How to Boost Your Brain Waves to Lower Stress and Improve Mood
"College on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent's Guide to Students' Mental Health and Wellbeing" by Dr. Laurie Leventhal-Belfer. This book fills an unmet need. It is the first of its kind to provide a resource for parents as they support their child on the spectrum in preparing for and navigating the emotional challenges of college life.
The transition to college is often rocky for youth on the spectrum and can trigger mental health issues. This book is chock full of helpful information for parents and wisdom stemming from Dr. Laurie's years of experience as a psychologist.
In her interview, Dr. Laurie talks about her book, the inspiration behind it, and what parents of young adults with ASD can learn from reading it.
Neurodiverse Support Groups: Online Group Therapy in California is Here!
You may be having more stress from parenting your teen or young adult with autism, during this pandemic. The online parent therapy group, offered by Open Doors Therapy, will provide you a supportive and non-judgmental space to explore your feelings. You will learn new communication strategies to help keep the peace in your home during COVID 19. *Only available to California residents.
Presentations and Ted Talks by Autism Specialists
Now is a great time to listen to some inspirational Ted talks or learn information to improve your mood and wellbeing, during the Coronavirus outbreak.
- Autistic Adult TedX Talk. Tom Stratton shares how he used his autistic strengths to help him build strong friendships.
- Life Interrupted: Managing Stress and Anxiety during a Global Pandemic. A Special Seminar by Stanford Neurodiversity Project (Start video presentation at 9 mins and 25 seconds)
- Anxiety Management and Autism. Includes tips for coping with stress and anxiety from Dr. Chris Lynch.
- Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training
Relaxation Apps for Neurodiverse and Twice-Exceptional Adults
If you or your child are feeling anxious or tense, finding it difficult to stay focused, getting headaches, or feeling pulled in too many directions, you could download a relaxation app. There are many types of relaxation apps out there. Here are some blogs that describe some great apps that can bring you comfort and relaxation today.
- Meditation apps provide you with guided meditations or mindfulness exercises.
- List of biofeedback apps. Biofeedback is an evidence-based approach to learning relaxation. Biofeedback involves increasing self-awareness of and control over your physiological response through feedback from technology, such as apps that measure heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature
- Binaural beats apps. Binaural beats occur when two slightly different auditory frequencies are presented to each ear, and there is a change in brain functioning. A recent meta-analysis study indicated that binaural beats helped reduce anxiety and pain sensations, and improved memory and attention.
- Stress Relief Apps. There are a variety of stress relief apps out there.
Free Online Classes During Coronavirus
Here is a list of classes that range from mindfulness and exercise classes that can help you release tension and build up strength, to classes that teach you dance moves!
One of the easiest and fastest ways to achieve noticeable improvements in your mood and bring peace of mind is through music. Not all music can do this. You know yourself best, so listen to some music that you know will help you stay positive. For my teen and adult clients with autism, I have found that binaural beats music can be particularly calming. Binaural beats music can increase alpha brain waves, which is known to stimulate creativity, clear the mind of clutter, and minimize depression.
Working From Home and Educational Resources
Neurodiverse Working Professionals
As an autistic working professional, you might now be working remotely from home all the time. Even if you were used to working remotely sometimes, it still can be different when it's all the time! If you love your work, then it can make it even harder for you to separate your work life from your personal life. Your loved ones might feel ignored. You might actually find hyper-focusing on your work intellectually simulating, and a great escape from hearing about COVID 19. As you start to settle into an everyday routine of balancing work and personal life, setting up some structure and boundaries might be helpful. Check out the resources below.
High School and College Students with Autism
For students on the autism spectrum or their parents, adapting to online learning can be very challenging. There tends to be less natural structure with online learning compared to attending school. The pressure is on you to figure out a daily routine for learning and homework. Don't worry. There are some great resources out there to help you figure out a good routine, which will reduce your stress around school and give you more free time to do things you enjoy!