Coronavirus: information and updates

Support for children with additional needs at home

Families across the UK are having to change their routines because of coronavirus. Many parents of children with autism and ADHD worry about the effects on their family.

Explain any changes

Things are changing fast and it’s hard to guess what will happen next. Your child's usual routine may no longer be possible. They may become anxious or distressed staying indoors and not understand the situation.

You know your child and their triggers best and how they can affect your family. Explain the situation and any changes to your children and give them time to take in the information.

Tips for talking to your child with autism about coronavirus (

Work out your family's needs

It can be difficult to find a new routine that works for all your family. Make a list of the things that are important to your family and their specific needs. This could be:

  • eating at the same time every day to help with routine
  • simple activities that your child can do on their own
  • a calm, safe space in your home if your child has sensory problems
  • a clear space to do school work
  • going outside every day
  • who is on 'parent duty' at what time, if you live with your partner
  • regular breaks for you and your partner, if you live with them

You might find some things on your list are not always practical. For example, you may not have room for a calming space in your home. By having a list, you can try different things when you can.


You may worry that your child will fall behind with school work. But remember that schools do not expect you to deliver a full curriculum to your child. The most important thing is keeping your family happy and healthy.

Homeschooling resources

Flexible working from home with children

Get support

Think about the practical and emotional support you need, such as:

Speak with other parents in similar situations on Scope’s online community

Get emotional support from Scope parent mentors     

Contact the National Autistic Society for support (

There's free online training to help you support children and young people’s mental health during emergencies and crisis situations

Get Psychological First Aid training (Public Health England)

Take care of yourself

To take care of everyone, you need to take care of yourself. Think about things that help you feel calm and try to do them each day. This might include:

Managing stress when caring for your disabled child

Last reviewed by Scope on: 22/10/2020

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