Preparing Autistic Children for the Covid-19 Vaccine

With the Covid-19 vaccine becoming accessible to more age groups, very soon younger children in India will become eligible to receive the vaccine.

Getting a shot is associated with anxiety and fear in most children, and for children with special needs, these usual challenges might be supplemented with additional difficulties associated with their condition.

Here are some strategies you can implement to make sure your child has a successful vaccination appointment:

 

Model Calming Behavior

Children feed off the energy that their parents emit, and hence, it is important that you are fully aware of your emotions. Identify if you are feeling anxious, fearful, or nervous. Have strategies like deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation techniques in place to keep those emotions in check.

Remember that if you project a calm exterior, that energy will help your child stay calm as well.

 

Prepare Social Scripts

Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is an entirely new experience that may cause stress in children. Helping children understand what’s to come may help alleviate some of this stress.

Social scripts are great for helping your child understand the process of vaccination in detail. Social scripts provide a detailed description of a particular event in a step-by-step manner. They also include images that will make it easier for your child to conceptualize the process.

This amazing website provides you with lots of Covid-19 vaccination social scripts and information on how to use them:

https://www.amaze.org.au/support/resources/covid-19-vaccination-social-scripts/

 

Implement Role-Play Techniques

Supplementing the social scripts with role-plays will provide additional understanding and help prepare your child better for their vaccination appointment.

You can act out the whole process with your child; right from submitting your ID & appointment letter before vaccination to the mandatory observation period after getting the shot. This will help your child gain clarity about what’s to come– along with helping them understand the role they’ll be playing during the whole process.

 

Prepare yourself with Relevant Information

Your child may ask you questions regarding the vaccination process or how the vaccine works. Make sure that you are armed with the right information to help answer all your child’s questions.

Give your child information about Covid-19 and vaccines using simple terminology and language that they’ll be able to grasp easily. This may help ease some of their anxiety about getting the vaccine.

The CDC website offers easy-to-read material related to Covid-19 and vaccines. You can use this material to answer any questions your child may have: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/easy-to-read/index.html

 

In addition to implementing these strategies, talking to your child’s primary healthcare provider regarding any queries you may have about vaccinations will surely help.

Remember that every child is different and so are their needs; hence, it is important to explore what works best for your child. Take your time with your research and formulate a concrete plan for your child with the help of your child’s general physician and psychologist.

Don’t forget to give your child a little reward at the end of the appointment to let them know that they’ve done a great job!

1 Comment
  1. Autism Respite January 17, 2022 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    People with autism have had unique burdens during the pandemic. “COVID-19 has been devastating to the autism community, as well as the greater intellectual and developmental disability community. We’ve seen service interruptions in the autism respite system to provide services. Try to make an autistic child as familiar as possible with the current situation to make him understand why the vaccine is a necessity.

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