Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager living through a global pandemic is a whole other level of hard. In our house, the hardest part of the pandemic has been the changes – hello, Autism. For my teenager, keeping things somewhat predictable has been a key to our house running smoothly.
Some of the items below are new necessities and some have been around for a while. Either way, we can’t live without them at this point! I asked Chloe what her favorite, most “can’t live without” things were for virtual school and I agree, these things are must-haves in our house!
This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks!
Big Brother drama aside, Alexa has been a life-saver in our house, especially during virtual schooling. We have one on the main floor and one in her room.
Alexa reminds her 15 minutes before her classes to do simple tasks (i.e. use the bathroom and gather her supplies), then three minutes before class it reminders her to log into her class. Chloe asked me to set her “drink water” reminders throughout the day at well since she struggles to do that consistently.
It took a bit of work on my end to set it all up, but it helped our mother/daughter relationship immensely since it stopped her from feeling like I was nagging her about class times.
2. Weighted blanket
This isn’t a necessity for all Neurodivergent people (remember, every person on this earth is different), but it’s very helpful for Chloe. Despite generally being sensory avoidant, she really likes the pressure from a weighted blanket, especially during virtual school.
The one she has is about 5 pounds and seems to work well for her.
She loves a character blanket, so here are some of her favorites:
3. Visual calendar
I’ll be honest, I fought this one for a while. I’m one of those strange people that don’t really like things on the walls, especially items with messy handwriting. Well, I got over it and tried a visual calendar and it’s been helpful for all of us.
I write the schedule for the week – whether it’s an A or B day for school (Chloe is on a block schedule), special therapy days, extra homework assignments, and holidays.
We have it near the kitchen table so everyone can see it easily and make adjustments as needed. My hyperbolic son loves seeing the words and knowing how his week is going to look.
Is there any parent at this point of the pandemic that hasn’t implemented some sort of headphone policy in their home?
Chloe really likes these headphones from Amazon – she loves to show her ‘cat style’ whenever she can.
5. Essential oils
I’m sure you’re like, “ok Jillian, you kind of HAVE to say that though, you’re an oily mama.” But in all honestly, Chloe made this list on her own.
I need my Adaptiv to help me make it through school, especially when I have a test and I’m all wound up about it. Oh yeah, I also need it when I go to the Orthodontist cause having people’s hands in my mouth makes me nervous.
I use the DigestZen roller a lot because tests give me “nervous nelly belly”.
I need Serenity or Balance in my diffuser at night because my brain doesn’t like to let me sleep. I just smell them both and pick one for the night. They make my room smell good and I sleep, which I know you like, Mom.
If you have “must-have” items that help your Autistic child during virtual schooling I’d love to know about them!