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Stay-at-home tips for children with special needs

The coronavirus has changed daily routines for many of us. The sudden transition into a new normal can be especially challenging for children with special needs.

BRODHEADSVILLE, Pa. — Schools and other educational centers are closed for the foreseeable future as the spread of COVID-19 continues to impact our area.

Pennsylvania Autism Action Center near Brodheadsville is one of those places forced to shut its doors.

Owner Michelle DeMarsh says the sudden change in routine can greatly impact children with special needs.

"Kids on the spectrum already have an expectation of high anxiety. It's one of the features of autism. So being out of routine can really cause a person on the spectrum to just not really quite connect why we aren't doing the thing we are supposed to be doing," said Michelle DeMarsh, Pennsylvania Autism Action Center.

It's why DeMarsh and her staff are encouraging parents to build their own routines with children at home.

"Really, what you want to do is keep expectations clear. Here is our routine daily; here is what we need you to do, and that is going to really help not just the child, but the family, too," said DeMarsh.

DeMarsh says her center has been using a system called Telehealth to get virtual health-related services and information out to clients.

One outlet, children, parents, and staff seem to really like is Music Therapy. 

"Participate with them, and it will help decrease their anxiety and know it is something for everyone right now," said DeMarsh.

Learn more about online video sessions with the Pennsylvania Autism Action Center.