HOTLINE: To speak with a Behavior Interventions Specialist about how to address and deal with challenging behaviors call: (716) 371 1027
Monday – Friday   8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 
As COVID-19 wears on, boredom, anxiety, restlessness, anxiety and depression may be much more evident in the people we support at work and in our own homes.
Feelings of boredom, anxiety, restlessness or depression can change a person’s behavior or increase behaviors that already exist. You may notice that people are asking more questions for reassurance or that people are not talking as much. In response to boredom, restlessness, anxiety or depression individuals who sometimes yell, curse or slam doors, may do it more. Self- Injurious Behavior (such as hitting, scratching, slapping or biting oneself) is a common response to these feelings.  What follows are some interventions (things we can do to support others) that will help manage behaviors as we remain safe inside our residences.
There is no intervention that works all the time, rather what we offer below are some suggestions to try in residence or at home. 
1.  KEEP A ROUTINE:  A routine is something we do every day. People feel safe and secure with routines. This is particularly true if the person you are supporting is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or falls somewhere on the spectrum. 
HOW TO CREATE A ROUTINE: Whether in a residence or home setting, we all have routines.  Some of these daily activities include tooth brushing, changing, dressing, hair brushing and now, even more relevant, handwashing. Making sure that you do these things around the same time   every day helps a person feel comfort in what to expect.
Extra: With so much down time, why not try a facial, manicure or some other relaxing activity. Take extra time to do something nice for yourself. Create a comfort box with all the things the person you support might find comforting. Make one for yourself too!
2.  EXERCISE:  Exercise is walking outside, dancing, spend some time moving every day. 
This is a great time to try Zumba. If you need some music and an instructor, YouTube has thousands of exercise videos. No internet. No problem, turn the radio on and get moving, make up your own routine. 
Safety: If you are inclined to go out, make sure to take the necessary precautions (mask, gloves and washing hands when returning).
3.  GO FOR A DRIVE:  If you can't go for a walk, see if a van is available. Go for a drive, open the window and let some fresh air in. 
Extra: If you can’t get outside, you can keep a window open in your home, it helps keep things fresh and bright. 
4.  GAMES and PUZZLES: Break out Connect Four, some cards, checkers, Uno, or a simple puzzle with large pieces that everyone can do together. 
5.  START A PROJECT: Now is the best time to clean out those closets or drawers. 
6.  STAY in TOUCH:  Encourage and help our individuals keep in touch with friends and family via face time or the phone. Staying connected is important. It may be necessary to set some limits here, because some people may want to call too frequently. 
7.  A RETREAT SPACE:  This is not always easy to have, especially with city living or in a residence but help the person you support identify a place where they can relax to distress. Even when we are very close to one another, knowing that you have a quiet space helps decrease anxiety and stress. 
Extra: You can help someone build a fort out of pillows and blankets to create a safe space.
8. LIMIT COVID-19 NEWS: Limit the amount of news you watch, sometimes too much is really too much. Also be mindful of the discussions you are having in the presence of others. Some of the information you may be discussing may be upsetting to our individuals. Set aside times in the routine to turn the TV off and do another activity. When the television is on make sure the programming includes a comedy, game shows or other entertaining program. 
9.  OFFER REASSURANCE/TALK ABOUT COVID:  focus on safety and attachment, we are all in this together. If the person is verbal, help them verbalize their thoughts no matter how simple. Talk about their fears, missing program or a particular friend.
9a.  FOCUS ON THE HELPERS – our nurses, the healthcare workers in the hospitals, the mailperson, the food delivery truck driver and all the other people who make it possible to continue our daily routine.
9b.  FOCUS ON THE GOOD – being safe, having direct care personal available 24 hours a day, being able to do fun things everyday.
9c.  EMPOWERED – everyone can do their part by washing hands and keeping safe distances. 
10.  REDUCE CONFLICT:  Tensions between individuals or others arise more often because we are very close together and our routines have changed. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. That means that we all have times where we are not at our best. Lower your expectations.  Help others to see that everyone is doing their best. Support individuals to not continue disagreements and to move away from them. Redirect them to a different activity. Once they are calm then discuss the argument or conflict.  
Extra: Do not show up to every argument you are invited to. Try to move away from blowing up and yelling. When they do happen, try to recover from it, and restore the relationship. Remember we all need to support each other during this stressful time. Letting go of an argument is the best thing you can do for you.

< Back to Home

Constructive Partnerships Unlimited (Formerly Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State)

40 Rector Street, 15th Floor New York, NY 10006

Back to top