By AMY FLETCHER
There have been more than 7,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska to date. As the disease is highly infectious, parents of children with special health care needs have been informed that they are at a greater risk of developing complications if they contract the illness. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you all stay at home. And while it’s hard not to worry, the good news is, there is plenty of help and guidance available to get you through this period.
Accessing essential medication
Many children with special needs will require medication to help manage their condition. For instance, 56% of children on the autism spectrum take at least one form of medication, according to a 2012 study. Regardless of what condition your child has, it’s essential that they continue to take their medication during this time. The BlueCross BlueShield Nebraska has waived early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications so that it’s easier to obtain essential medication. You can also request for medications to be delivered to your door from your local pharmacy or from an online pharmacy so that no one in your household has to go outside and risk contracting the illness.
Most non-essential medical appointments have been canceled in Nebraska since March 23. But make sure you confirm with your child’s doctor that his or her appointments have been canceled as some are still going ahead with special precautions in place. A similar stance has been taken with the therapy appointments that so many children with special needs rely on too. For example, children with cerebral palsy typically rely on physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapy to aid the management of their condition. Rest assured that you are not alone during this time and that there are online family support networks out there that will help you to manage your child’s cerebral palsy until therapy appointments can be reintroduced. Some therapists are also providing virtual therapy so it’s worth looking into this if you think it would benefit you and your child.
Create a new norm
Routine is essential for children with special needs as it helps them to build their confidence, improve their behavior, and reduce stress levels. Even though things are far from normal now, it’s important to create a new routine and a sense of normality for all children with special needs. This should include an exercise where appropriate, school work, fun games and activities, and socializing with friends and family via video on a regular basis. There are plenty of online resources, including YouTube fitness videos, printable SEN worksheets, and educational gaming apps, to help you provide these activities, so there’s no need to worry about running out of ideas.
The current public health crisis is a worrying time for all, but it’s even more of a concern when you’re a parent of a special needs child as their health takes top priority. Thankfully, as long as you protect your family in the comfort of your own home and utilize all the help that’s readily available in the local area, you’ll successfully come through the other side.