The parents of children with special needs face unique challenges right now because, like other kids, theirs are also home and away from their usual routine.

But what about the parents?

Suzanne Buchanan, of Autism New Jersey, advises moms and dads of children who are on the autism spectrum that it's important for them to get as much sleep as possible, stay hydrated, and keep calm.

"I think the best thing a parent can do is to stay calm because this isn't a truly overwhelming and almost untenable situation," she said. "And so when we're calm, we can better plan. I think we can better respond to the challenges that are going to come up on a moment-to-moment basis."

"I think the best thing a parent can do is to stay calm because this isn't a truly overwhelming and almost untenable situation."

A big stresser for parents of autistic children is keeping with routines or mini-routines. But Buchanan says they keep a better semblance of sanity for everyone.

"Some parents will naturally provide that structure and other parents will understandably struggle with it," she said. "To the extent that there can be routines or mini-routines within those larger routines, it will probably keep a better semblance of sanity."

There's more good advice at autismnj.org/coronavirus.

"Our tagline is 'The Power of Connection,' and I think it takes on a special meaning during this pandemic," she said. "New Jersey and the entire autism community are here for you. Please reach out. Please stay connected. And we're going to share as much helpful information as we can on an hourly basis."

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