Parents of children with autism cope during COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Odin Sevigny is a third-grader who loves rollercoasters and video games. He also loves nudging his mom, Nicole, now more that he's out of school from Carpenter Elementary in Cary.
Odin also has autism.

"It is very strange," Nicole said. "But now that we're two weeks into it, we've gotten our routine down."

Routines are vital for kids like Odin.

"Autism doesn't go away because we have a global pandemic," said David Laxton, director of communications for the Autism Society of North Carolina. "The needs of the community don't go away because we have a pandemic."

April is also Autism Awareness Month -- a time when advocates are out doing more in-person events to raise awareness.

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Instead, there is a coronavirus section on the group's web site dedicated to helping families.

"When you think about how stressful it is for us, for a person with autism it could be more stressful because we're not as calm as we might normally be in dealing with day to day life," Laxton said.

Nicole stressed the importance of the chalk calendar in their home and a bike ride to give Odin time outside every day.

"We have our checklist of things we do every day so we're getting in our groove," Nicole said. "I work from home so that's a little challenging too. The biggest thing is it's not perfect and it's not going to be perfect. We have our good days and our bad."

Odin is on a year-round calendar in Wake County and right now he's on spring break. He starts a new distance learning module Monday.

RELATED: Wake County year-round schools transition to traditional schedule amid COVID-19 pandemic
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