Respite Care for Kids or Adults with Autism During COVID-19

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Respite Care for Kids or Adults with Autism During COVID-19

Karina Chavira, BS and Diana Ferrassoli, AA

The COVID-19 public health emergency is impacting parents in ways that are sometimes difficult to understand or even imagine.

With stay at home orders, distance learning and other changes created by our current situation, many parents are struggling to figure out how to use ZOOM®, help with homework, get their own tasks done as they work from home, or get things done around the house – all while ensuring everyone in the home is safe. These challenges are compounded for parents of kids or adults with autism or other developmental disabilities. With everything going on, simply doing a grocery run or taking a little break can be challenging.

The good news is that respite care can help make life a little easier. Helping hands are ready and safety measures are in place to help parents get the temporary assistance they need to take a break, complete everyday tasks, or manage the activities of their child while working from home. The bottom line is that respite care may be just what parents of kids or adults with autism and other developmental disabilities need to help keep everything running smoothly.

Who Pays for Respite Services?

In the state of California, the local Regional Center will authorize and pay for appropriate and necessary respite care services for any individual diagnosed with autism or other developmental disability. Parents and other primary caregivers can also receive respite services under a self-pay arrangement, paying for services directly as needed.

Keeping Your Family Safe and Healthy While Receiving Respite Care

Allowing someone into your home to provide respite care may seem difficult or even a little unsettling. But some respite service providers are going the extra mile to ensure your family and their respite care workers stay safe and healthy.

First and foremost, it’s important that your respite service provider has provided their respite care workers with essential personal protective equipment (PPE) including medical grade face masks, medical grade gloves and hand sanitizer. It’s also important that your service provider has an established protocol in place – including a process for conducting daily wellness checks with all respite care staffers; providing guidelines to staff regarding handwashing, wearing face coverings and other important safety measures; and rescheduling sessions if anyone in the client’s household is sick.

So how do you know if a respite service provider is doing all they can to keep you and their workers safe? The first thing you can do is visit the respite service provider’s website and look for information about their COVID-19 initiatives. Providers that are taking proactive measures will have information about their COVID-19 response “front and center” on their site so you can easily find it. You can also call the service provider to discuss details about what they are doing to keep everyone safe.

Final Thoughts

If you are the parent of a child with autism and would like to learn more about how respite care could help you manage all the demands of daily life, we invite you to request a consult to arrange for a complimentary 30 minute phone consultation. During the consultation, we can determine if respite care is right for you and your family, and we can help you with the next steps in the process to arrange for an authorization for respite services through your local regional center.

For more information about respite care services, visit traditional in-home respite and specialized personal assistance.

For more information about Behavior Respite in Action’s COVID-19 response, visit COVID-19 Updates.

About the Authors

Karina has been working with children and adults with special needs for more than five years. She is dedicated to using her passion for providing service to others to ensure those in need receive the quality care they deserve.

Karina earned her Bachelor of Science in business management from California State University Northridge. She currently serves as program coordinator for Behavior Respite in Action in Chatsworth.

During her free time, Karina enjoys traveling and volunteering. She has participated in multiple medical mission trips. Her love for medical mission trips began in June 2016 during a five-day mission trip to the Palawan Province in the Philippines, where a total of 3,131 people were served through educational sessions on personal hygiene, medical consultations and screenings. Since then, Karina has participated in medical missions at least once every year.

Karina Chavira image
Karina Chavira, BS

Program Coordinator
Behavior Respite in Action

Diana is committed to providing true service. To her, this means treating and responding to the needs of families and individuals with sincerity and integrity. Her passion is helping people function most effectively in their environments and communities.

Diana began working with children and adults with special needs five years ago. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to pursue an education in psychology. She’s currently enrolled in a bachelor’s program through Arizona State University and her goal is to work in the field of psychology diagnostics. Diana currently serves as a program coordinator for Behavior Respite in Action in Palmdale.

Diana enjoys collecting Starbucks mugs from different cities and countries, and currently has about 55 mugs from all over the world. She collects them when she travels with her family and friends.

Diana Ferrassoli photo
Diana Ferrassoli, AA

Program Coordinator
Behavior Respite in Action

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Traditional In-Home Respite

Traditional in-home respite is appropriate for individuals of all ages and is available in situations when the parent or primary caregiver has a need for temporary relief or assistance with caregiver responsibilities.

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Specialized Personal Assistance

Specialized Personal Assistance is an enhanced service for individuals who have more challenging behaviors – like physical or verbal aggression, property destruction, self-injury, self-stimulation, or elopement – and therefore need more support than traditional in-home respite can provide. The service is appropriate for individuals of any age.

For more articles, visit our Stay Informed page.

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