COVID-19 anxiety impacting developmental disorders

Published: Apr. 11, 2020 at 9:23 PM PDT
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From the loud roar of the blender to the exposure of bright light, while in self-isolation, these are just a few disturbances that greatly impact people with developmental disorders.

Autism is a developmental disorder that makes social interaction and communication difficult. Cady Stanton,

, has worked with autistic youth and adults for more than 15 years and she said this is a very anxiety-provoking situation that brings a lot of change all at once.

Stanton has transitioned her therapy to a virtual platform. She said during these times her clients have been more on edge and easily agitated.

“They are definitely dealing with an increase in anxiety, and when there is anxiety there is an increase in sensory sensitivities,” Cady explained. “Sensitivity to the noise, the lights, the textures, they are all likely to increase.”

Many videos that are roaming the internet of people honking to spread positivity could actually be very disruptive for some. Stanton said for someone with autism, a large amount of unexpected sound is very triggering.

She advised families to provide quieter environments and avoid displaying any form of stress. It is critical to keep a routine.

“We want to make our lives as predictable as possible, that means having a structure in your life, and that means not staying up till 3 am,” Stanton said. “That means going to bed at a normal time getting up and sleeping at a normal time.”

With the closures of schools, students have been working online, but if they have developmental disorders, doing their schoolwork through that platform is very difficult.

“The internal regulatory systems are often not developed yet for online learning to be successful for them, they are going to need additional support,” stated Stanton.

Stanton says these times will be challenging, but she wants Northern Nevadans to know that they are not alone.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020