TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — COVID-19 restrictions have increased the need for services for people with autism.
An online program developed at Florida State University’s Autism Institute is helping families through this pandemic.
“Having someone guide us is really important for our family,” shared Qingqing, a parent living in Florida.
Her son is two years old. She said he was recently diagnosed with autism.
“Without them, I don’t know how we would’ve gotten through the first few months. It’s just so hard not getting anywhere with him,” Qingqing added. “Before the pandemic, we would go to library events or baby gyms or the supermarket. Ever since this happened, he won’t be able to go anywhere.”
That’s where Florida State’s online Autism Navigator comes in.
“Autism Navigator is a collection of web-based courses and tools for professionals and families,” explained Dr. Amy Wetherby, the director of the Autism Institute and a professor of clinical sciences at FSU.
“Our enrollment in our courses and tools has increased since COVID about 500 percent,” she added.
Early diagnosis and intervention lay the groundwork for a child and their family. The online tools get results that Autism Navigator Master Coach & Global Trainer Joy Moore said can last for years.
“I can’t even put words to it. I feel so fortunate and blessed to be here with this team,” Moore said.
Over the last several months, Moore has helped parents like Qingqing manage the pressure of the pandemic.
“He’s learning because of this whole journey,” Qingqing said. “Little things are coming a long way from the beginning. He’s learning to pay attention to me.”
The largest Autism Navigator course now reaches more than 50,000 people from 165 countries.