Tips and tricks for getting kids and adults on the autism spectrum to wear a mask

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 20:54:32-05

BOISE, Idaho — Change is scary and sensory overloads are too much for anyone on the autism spectrum. So, one can only imagine the stress someone of the spectrum feels when asked to wear a face mask during a pandemic.

Doctor Elena Harlan with St. Luke's Children's Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disabilities said for parents and caregivers, looking for tips and tricks to protect their loved one, the best first step is building excitement around the mask.

“It could be a material that maybe has their favorite cartoon character on it or their favorite video game character on it or something they really love like Pokemon or something like that,” Harlan said.

Harlan also suggests picking a material that feels comfortable. Let them use their sense to decide what feels right.

“If they like soft things you know try to choose a material that’s super soft…try to choose a material that doesn’t have a lot of weird smell to it you know let them smell and decide what one is best," she said.

Dr. Harlan also encourages parents and caregivers to model their behaviors at home. Make it normal to wear a mask regularly. By doing this, parents and caregivers will slowly make it part of the daily routine.