Coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to disrupt the lives of all Australians. Every person and every family have been impacted in some way. For individuals with FASD and their families, the disruption, changes and general uncertainty is likely to cause increased levels of distress, anxiety and confusion. NOFASD have compiled an updated list of resources to support you and your family through this difficult time. If you have any valuable information to add please contact us or write it in the comments section below.
If you want to talk to someone, please feel free to contact the NOFASD Helpline on 1800 860 613.
Keep up to date with the latest information
For information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), visit HealthDirect for updates and FAQs or call the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
Carers Australia provides COVID-19 information and advice for carers. This page contains important information on:
- Keeping yourself and the person you care for well
- Making an emergency plan (completing and sharing a care plan is essential when helping to prepare for a possible emergency. Access your Emergency Care Plan template here).
- NDIS information
- Social security announcements
- Carers’ wellbeing
- Accessing groceries
Helping people with FASD cope with coronavirus
Information about COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is dominating news and social media channels. This is overwhelming for many, including adults and young people with FASD. CanFASD provides some useful tips for individuals with FASD and their families. These include:
- Explain COVID-19 to your children
- Set a new routine
- Prominently display prevention reminders
- Manage sensitivities
- Give direct and positive health instructions
- Make preventative health fun
- Monitor your child’s health
- Practice calming techniques
CanFASD also provide useful tips for the carers of individuals with FASD.
The UK’s National Organisation for FASD’s Stay at Home Guide provides a template for young people with FASD to help plan for days when they may need to be at home. This guide offers suggestions and has spaces for individuals to draw and write their ideas. Read more
When talking to a young person with FASD, ensure you consider their developmental age when deciding how to have conversations. Child Mind Institute provides some guidance on how to speak to your children about coronavirus:
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus
- Be developmentally appropriate
- Take your cues from your child
- Deal with your own anxiety
- Be reassuring
- Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe
- Keep talking
Read more here.
#COVIBOOK is a beautiful resource designed by mindheart.co to help support and reassure children under the age of 7 regarding COVID-19. This book is an invitation for families to discuss the full range of emotions arising from the current situation. It is important to point out that this resource does not seek to be a source of scientific information, but rather a tool based on fantasy. You can print this material and work through it with your children, helping them to process and understand through repetition of the story.
Looking after your mental health
It is important that we all look after our mental health during this unprecedented and uncertain time. If you are in quarantine or self-isolating, its even more important that you look after yourself (abc.net.au).
Below are some great resources to support your mental health during this time.
NOFASD Australia partnered with American FASD specialist Eileen Devine to create these valuable videos and resources. Taking care of yourself is essential, not just for your own wellbeing but also for your family.
In response to the challenges of social distancing, Eileen Devine recently created a weekly self-care plan for parents.
Child Psychologist Dr Mona Delahooke wrote a valuable blog:
Amid the Pandemic, Going Easy on Our Kids — and Ourselves
This article from the Australian Psychological Society has some great tips on how to look after your mental health while you and your family are in social isolation. Some of their tips include:
- Change out of your pyjamas each morning
- Set up a dedicated workspace
- Create a schedule or daily routine
- Create a roster to distribute chores evenly
- Maintain social relationships by using technology such as Zoom or Skype.
Find out more tips here.
The Black Dog Institute also has a personalised self-help tool called myCompass which research shows can improve mental health. Find out more here.
Valuable strategies are also outlined in the Pandemic Toolkit for parents
Humans are susceptible to many different infectious diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Worrying about diseases is a normal reaction. But, excessive worrying about infectious diseases can affect both our physical and our mental health. This page describes practical psychological skills to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety and worry about infectious diseases.
If your children are learning from home
As State Governments make announcements about Term 2, and some families consider the possibility of keeping their children home, many parents are feeling confused, worried and conflicted about home responsibilities, jobs, and family health. If you are facing the possibility of keeping you child/ren home during the coming weeks, we recommend you read this letter from a school principal. Be reassured that if your children stay home during these unprecedented times, you are not expected to become a professional teacher.
“Home-schooling” is a conscious choice by parents, involving rigorous planning and an application/accreditation process here in Australia. As Catriona Golding said in her article, “Stop Trying to be Superheroes” this is not home-schooling. This pandemic is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting the whole world. Don’t worry about them falling behind academically – every single kid is in this boat and they will all be okay because they have you.
With that in mind, here are some tips and helpful resources to help you over the coming weeks:
Check out the Department of Education collaboration Learning Together, which contains resources and advice for parents, carers and families to support a child’s learning.
Keeping a routine for children at home will keep them to cope with the transition from being at school five days a week to at home seven days a week. This article provides some great tips on how to keep a daily routine and ideas on how to keep your children entertained, including:
- Replicating your child’s school routine as much as possible (such as keeping the same time for ‘recess’ and lunch)
- Dedicate time for play
- Schedule easy indoor activities
- Build in reading
- Make a screen time routine (and carefully limit screen time to avoid overload)
This article also has some great activities for helping your children to learn while keeping them entertained. Read more here.
ABC Education provides thousands of free resources for students. You may find ideas for family discussion, or your next at-home project.
Even if your children are attending school, social distancing means their weekends have been impacted. NOFAS-UK have produced an excellent Stay-at-Home guide for kids with FASD. This resource provides an opportunity for discussion and brainstorming with your child, and once completed serves as a visual reminder of your family’s ideas.
If you want to talk to someone, please feel free to contact the NOFASD Helpline on 1800 860 613 or send us an email enquiry. We’re available 7 days a week for a confidential chat.
We would also love to hear from you – how is your family managing coronavirus? What strategies are working well? Please send us a message or comment below!
Read NOFASD’s first coronavirus blog – this includes useful handwashing and hygiene visuals
Read FASD Specialist Prue Walker’s COVID-19 blog
Read NOFASD’s other blogs (take a break from coronavirus!