Impact of COVID-19 on Children’s Social and Emotional Skills

Impact of COVID-19 on Children’s Social and Emotional Skills

As COVID-19 restrictions continue, here’s how to make use of resources in the comfort of your own home for developing your child’s social-emotional skills. COVID-19 has impacted all children, but some children, including those on the spectrum, may have been affected more dramatically than others. Children with autism often find it hard to: Recognize emotions, facial expressions, and other emotional cues like tone of voice and body language Understand and manage their feelings and emotional reactions Understand and respond to other people’s emotions—they might lack, or seem to lack, perspective or empathy for others Adapt to changes in their routine or social interactions Manage overwhelming social interactions or environmental stressors These combinations of traits make it difficult for some children with autism to acquire the social-emotional skills most of us take for granted. We know that social skills and emotional regulation strategies can help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)... Read more

Olympia Therapy: ‘The Payoffs of Risky Play Equal Healthier Kids’

Olympia Therapy: ‘The Payoffs of Risky Play Equal Healthier Kids’

Children at play are having fun, and at the same time they are learning developmentally at every turn. Playing involves physical skills and making judgements. Am I strong enough to climb over those rocks to get to the beach? How can I pick up jacks without touching the ones I want to save for the next turn? Getting pinched hurts. Cary Hamilton of Olympia Therapy sees what happens when children who have been over protected through their young years are later overwhelmed by anxiety because they are unable to make decisions. “Kids and parents are crashing and burning,” warns Cary, who encourages unpredictable play more often to decrease the stress. Risky play engages children to test their limits appropriate to their ages and stages. Photo courtesy: Olympia Therapy Parents can be challenged to understand that risky play offers big rewards for everyone. Here’s an example of risky play using a... Read more

Kids are feeling anxiety about a ‘return to normal’

Recently, I scheduled a playdate for my 6-year-old with a good friend she hadn’t seen in months because of the pandemic. She was so excited — until, suddenly, she wasn’t. As the day approached, my daughter grew more and more irritable. The day before, she demanded that we bake cookies and make signs for her friend. When I told her we couldn’t, she exploded in an angry meltdown. After she calmed down, I sat down with her to try to figure out what was going on. She tearfully admitted that she was terrified: She worried that her friend wouldn’t like her anymore, which is why she was trying engineer the perfect playdate — to ensure that she could win her friend back after months of being out of touch. If you, as a parent, have been experiencing anxiety about the “return to normal,” your kids are likely to be harboring... Read more

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