By Renee Santos


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Playing a melody on piano comes easy to Mason, who is living with autism.

“I’m nine years old,” Mason said. “I like to play my cars, I like to draw and color.”

He’s a social butterfly and likes to stay busy. But his daily routine that has been a big part of helping him grow has suddenly changed and that’s challenging for mom Jessica Tavera.

“Because he doesn’t see me as a learning coach he sees me as mom,” she explained.

Tavera is now playing the role of teacher.

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“We have our battles and [he says] ‘You’re not my teacher you are my mom,’ and that, I have to say, has been the most difficult, trying, hair-pulling moment,” Tavera said.

Erika Frieze is a clinical psychologist.

“Start talking to them in developmentally appropriate ways about the virus or about why we aren’t going to school or why we can’t see our friends and starting to set up expectations that way,” said Dr. Frieze.

She recommends developing a structured routine.

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“Having a visual schedule just like they do at school with the agenda exactly what we are going to be doing today,” Dr. Frieze said.

Tavera has a routine with Mason but worries about the social skills he is not practicing during isolation. She finds comfort in the melody he plays on the piano and knows he will be okay.

“They need that especially now when the world is uncertain and their world is upside down. They don’t know they need somebody confident they need unconditional love no matter what,” Tavera said.

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