~ 3 minute read
Why is the title a not so clever pun you may ask? Well, the essence of this post is to embrace the idea of teamwork. This pandemic has placed an ample amount of stress on families with children in general, but particularly families with children on the spectrum. The confinement indoors is enough to alter an array of factors including one’s mood, behaviour, habits- you name it. However, I found there are strategies we can employ to alleviate the stress placed on our loved ones as well as ourselves. For someone who has a sibling with autism- my brother- these activities are crucial in ensuring my loved one is able to receive a better quality of life in such restrictive times. For my brother, being able to do something, rather than sit around, is the difference between a good and bad day. He feels so much better when he is actively involved in something he enjoys!
I know it is difficult to find engaging activities during quarantine, given the limited outdoor options. However, there are actually many things you could do. You just have to get a little creative! Here are some potential activities you could try out:
1) Painting: I never thought I would enjoy painting but I knew this was the perfect time to experiment with new ideas. Many art supply stores are currently accepting online orders. Once you place your order online, you simply arrive at the store, give them a call on the number posted outside the store and wait for the employees to drop off your items. Many stores are now allowing you to go inside alongside the curb-side pick-up option. Personally, I bought a canvas set, some acrylic paints, and a paint brush set. I would highly recommend playing some relaxing music such as “lofi beats” or piano music as it calms the nerves while engaging in this activity. Just set up the canvases on a table, or outside on a bedsheet (if you’re an outdoors person), for you and all your loved ones. My little brother also loves creating art, whether be it painting or just simple crafts- so this is something that I feel everyone can enjoy.
2) Family Exercise Sessions: Working out as a family is a great way to boost your energy levels since exercising releases endorphins. However, it is also an amazing way of reducing anxiety and stress. If your loved one is feeling constricted, confined, or under pressure due to the lockdown, exercise may be what they need! I would recommend setting up yoga mats in a row and following a simple beginners circuit tutorial. These circuits can easily be found on Youtube by typing in “full body workout at home for beginners”. If you do not have yoga mats, you can also use old towels or anything that would soften the surface. Be sure to keep water nearby and a healthy snack ready to eat afterwards! If your loved one with autism struggles to keep up with the complexity of the exercises, try to modify the workouts so that they are more simple and therefore more achievable. Demonstrations before beginning always help as well. Keep the pace slow and constantly provide motivational reassurance to everyone engaged!
3) Family Drives: Let me tell you, this was one that I overused! Gather everybody in the family, put the windows down, and play your favourite song. Drives allow the whole family to enjoy nature, receive fresh air, and employ relaxation. My little brother and I often go on drives to Tim Horton’s where we purchase donuts and eat them on the way home to some of my favourite music. The wind and music combination has always helped to relax my nerves and by being together, it helps strengthen familial bonds during this difficult time. I always bring along a homemade smoothie or some snacks, so that my little brother has something to munch on while I drive as well.
Hopefully some of these suggestions are something you could use to help out your loved ones. These activities will surely assist you in having some fun, getting closer to those in your family, and alleviating all the built up stress due to quarantine!
Jasmeet is an optimistic young woman with a desire for change. As the sibling of someone on the spectrum, she hopes to make a difference one step at a time through writing and working with Autism Ontario. Her undergraduate career in science has brought out a passion for discovery and research. Nonetheless, Jasmeet has quite the artistic side due to her love for music and poetry. She also enjoys working out and spending time with loved ones. Jasmeet is eager to continue making her mark throughout her life and to hopefully, one day, make huge differences in people’s lives through her work.
DISCLAIMER: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2021 Autism Ontario 416.246.9592 www.autismontario.com