Mask-erade: How to Get Your Autistic Child to Wear a Facemask during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s important for everyone, including children with autism, to wear a facemask to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, getting children with autism to wear a facemask can be a challenge, as they may be resistant to new or unfamiliar objects or experiences.

Here are a few tips for getting your autistic child to wear a facemask:

  1. Use visual supports: Many children with autism respond well to visual supports, such as pictures or videos. Show your child pictures or videos of people wearing facemasks, and explain that wearing a facemask helps to keep us and others safe from germs.
  2. Start slow: Gradually introduce the idea of wearing a facemask. You might start by showing your child the facemask and allowing them to touch and explore it, then gradually work up to wearing it for short periods of time.
  3. Make it a game: Children with autism may be more likely to engage with a new activity if it’s presented as a game. Try turning putting on and wearing a facemask into a fun activity, like a treasure hunt or a dress-up game.
  4. Use positive reinforcement: Rewarding your child for wearing a facemask can help to encourage them to continue doing so. You might use verbal praise, stickers, or small rewards to reinforce the behavior.
  5. Seek support: If you’re struggling to get your child to wear a facemask, it can be helpful to seek support from a therapist or other professional. They may be able to provide additional strategies and techniques for encouraging your child to wear a facemask.

Overall, getting your autistic child to wear a facemask may take time and patience. But by using visual supports, starting slow, making it a game, using positive reinforcement, and seeking support, you can help your child to feel more comfortable and confident wearing a facemask.