Stories, comments, insights

Tips for Staying at Home

March 30, 2020

Tips for Staying at Home

ASF Resource Team Member, Michelle Harvey shares some tips and ideas for staying at home with an individual with AS. 


Quarantine/At-Home Edition!

The first thing WE often do when we get to work is check our calendar and see what meetings/obligations we have that day. The predictability of a schedule is important for individuals with Angelman syndrome, too! Keep categories general to allow for slight changes (tv, then, walk, then puzzles, then lunch!), print out google images to aid in visual understanding if needed, and make sure to refer to it throughout the day as you check off each item! Contact Michelle Harvey on the ASF Family Resource Team for help with this.


  • Listen to Dr. Jane Summers discuss how to manage difficult behaviors and during this time of staying inside.
    This is a clip from a recent webinar discussing COVID-19
  • Shaving cream is great for sensory play and fine motor fun at home! Keep it contained in a baking sheet or pan. Practice writing letters and numbers, draw shapes or pictures in it, or hide legos, stacking beads, etc. in it and go on a hunt!
  • Struggling with behavior while at home for extended periods of time? Be sure to explain the behavior that your loved one with Angelman syndrome CAN be doing to get the same result as the negative behavior. For example: “I don’t like it when you hit me. If you want my attention, you can show me gentle and I will talk to you” or “Don’t grab the food when you want more, tell me that you want more” and model asking for more with whatever communication system (AAC, picture symbols, sign language, etc.) they can access!
  • Need to get your own work done from home but having trouble with your loved one with Angelman Syndrome waiting until you are done? Use a visual timer app that they can see to designate when your meeting or conference call is over!


  • Struggling with physical boundaries while at home for extended periods of time? Use easily-removed painters tape on carpet to designate off-limits areas (such as boxing off the kitchen), or on the kitchen table to designate individual work areas. Explain it to all of your kids, and provide praise and attention while your child with Angelman Syndrome is staying within their area. If they cross a boundary, redirect them with minimal attention and eye contact back to their area, then positive attention when they are in their area.
  • During this time of isolation and quarantine several literacy and read-aloud resources have made their sites free for an extended period of time – try Vooks or Epic. These sites animate and read aloud the text with the words on screen, and highlight or emphasize the word being read for greater literacy understanding and word recognition! |
  • Create opportunities for inside movement and activity! Watch GoNoodle videos and dance along, do CosmicKids yoga videos on Youtube, or create safe indoor obstacle courses using painters tape on carpet or tile (make arrows out of painters tape throughout different rooms and up and over pillows or beanbags, encourage kids to follow the line throughout the house from the start to the finish!)
  • During this time where so much is out of our control, do your best to offer choices when you can – this helps create some feeling of control for our loved ones with Angelman syndrome and decrease negative behaviors that may result from the anxiety of the new situation. Create a page of various activities, then let your loved one with AS pick what to do first, offer a choice of what is for lunch, or even let them pick what room in the house to work/hang out in.
  • Tips for transitioning away from screen time at home: as much as you can try to plan for the amount of screen time in advance. Set a visual timer to show when screen time will be over, give reminders of how much time is left and what the next activity is, and don’t go straight from screen time (preferred activity) to a non-preferred activity – a good strategy is to have a slightly less preferred activity first. For example, go from screen time to snack to puzzles/work tasks.
  • If you’re able, use this time to work on increasing independence in life skills routines at home. Try encouraging and teaching your loved one with AS the steps to check the mail, water plants in the backyard, or sorting clean laundry before you fold it. When teaching new routines like this, remember that consistency and repetition is key – model the task, explain the steps as you are doing them, give lots of opportunity for practice (check the mail 2-3 times per day if you want!) and remember to be positive and encouraging when they are trying something new! As the task becomes more predictable and familiar, you can start slowly fading away your prompts or physical presence and increase independence!
  • Struggling with work or activities from school/teachers/day program to do at home to keep your loved one with AS occupied and not bored? Reach out to Michelle Harvey on the ASF Family Resource Team for ideas based on current goals and strengths! We can brainstorm ideas using what you have at home or can order on Amazon to come up with meaningful and creative schedule and activities based on what is feasible at YOUR house with YOUR work from home schedule.