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Combating coronavirus: Abu Dhabi launches Covid-19 guide for families of People with Determination

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on May 19, 2020 | Last updated on May 19, 2020 at 03.50 pm
Combating coronavirus, covid19, Abu Dhabi, launches, Covid-19 guide, families, People with Determination

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Parents can also seek professional advice from their child's service provider on this subject.

A new guide for families of children of determination offers information and support to deal with the current Covid-19 situation and help their kids cope with the changes in their daily routines. It has been launched by the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Bushra Al Mulla, executive director of the Community Development Sector at DCD, pointed out that the current situation and the shutdown of all schools, programmes and services has posed the children of determination a big challenge to change their daily routines.

"Therefore, DCD has worked on creating a guide that helps tackle the situation by providing the families of kids of determination with the needed information and educational materials to continue supporting the development of their children while they stay at home," he said.

"As a parent or a caregiver, and with the demands of remote work or lack of employment, distance learning, childcare and managing a household, your mental and physical health can be affected and in turn, the social dynamics of your family."

Al Mulla added: "Considering that every child is unique and has his/her unique strengths and needs, this guide serves as a reference and parents will need to select and adapt strategies and resources to best meet their child's profile, needs and current state. Parents can also seek professional advice from their child's service provider on this subject."

The content has been adapted from select scientific and evidence-based references that are acknowledged and mentioned at the end of the guide, which showcases three major support strategies and they are as follows: support understanding, provide opportunities for expression and coping, and organise routines.

Support understanding

Children of determination have different levels of understanding about the coronavirus, how it spreads, and how to reduce the risk and prevent contracting the virus. Use the tips provided in this guideline to help children understand this pandemic.

Provide opportunities for expression and coping

Some children of determination will have difficulty expressing how they feel about the amount of changes and uncertainty in their routines due to social communication challenges, limited verbal or non-verbal skills or comprehension difficulties. Instead they may exhibit problem behaviours to express their frustration, worry or anxiety through increased temper tantrums, whining or clinging behaviours, isolation, stemming, loss of interest and refusal to participate in activities or follow daily simple instructions, sleep / appetite disturbance, agitation or decrease in energy. Be aware of these changing behaviours.

Organise routines

Every family needs a routine. It helps to organise life and keep it from becoming too chaotic. All children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent. Even more, some kids of determination, especially children with autism, may cope best when daily routines are only minimally interrupted as these routines provide them with increased comfort for and may allow them to better express their feelings related to the changes. With the unexpected changes in routine resulting from the Covid-19, it is crucial to balance between maintaining key routines and building new ones to adapt to the new situation of staying home imposed by the coronavirus outbreak and it is necessary to implement structure in daily routines. 

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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