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A lively 4-year-old, Hudson Teodoro is a nonverbal child on the autism spectrum. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting much of society, the loss of constant schooling and therapeutic input is immense right now and the regression can be immeasurable.
"If he's not constantly going to school, constantly getting therapy, he goes to school during the summer, he'll regress," his mom, Kristen Teodoro, said. "His teachers have always expressed that they're concerned even when he goes on spring break or Christmas break."
Now Kristen must become his teacher, his speech therapist and his occupational therapist each day.
"I'm not a trained speech therapist. I'm not a trained occupational therapist," she said. "They have tricks and know how to do things that I could try my hardest, and I do, but I'm still not doing it the way they would do it."
Hudson depends on school and daily engagement for critical development.
"I almost wish that they could come to the house but they can't," Kristen said. "So, he's losing that and we don't know how long he will lose it. So, that's kind of scary."
On top of teaching and being a source of strength for her children, Kristen and her husband are also dealing with the emotional toll this takes on both of them.
"A stressful time for my husband and I because we don't know if you're doing the right thing," Kristen said.
But groups like Autism Speaks are filling in for the sudden lack of support systems.
"How to talk to your loved one with autism about COVID. How to handle disruptive routines," Donna Murray, vice president of clinical programs for Autism Speaks, said. "We have toolkits around challenging behaviors or using visual supports."
They are offering online programs for school-based services and clinical care to support families through this.
Here are some resources for families dealing with autism:
For Adults on the Spectrum: