My daughter is also autistic. I think it depends on your kid’s interests. Anatomy is a special interest of my daughter’s so she loved the NPR comic above. For kids who might need a simpler approach, I’ve seen this picture book style series of infographics that is well done:
News-o-Matic is a daily news app for kids that my daughter loves. They have a few articles about covid19 and one of them is a series of questions from kids that a pediatrician and a child psychologist answer beautifully. Highly recommend.
My kid responds so well to facts and science and history. So she liked it when I explained to her the “flattening the curve” concept and how the cities of Philadelphia and St Louis had different approaches to the 1918 flu epidemic–especially considering her ancestors were in both of those cities at that time. We chatted about how all of America is trying to be St Louis and that’s why we’re rescheduling everything. (When I say “cancel” she gets so upset. When I say “reschedule” she’s totally fine.) I also showed her the “cattening the curve” infographic which she adored.
Of course giving information can sometimes cause more anxiety rather than less and often that just depends on your particular child. Again, focusing on rescheduling rather than canceling is a good practice. I found an article about rabbis in New Jersey who determined that going in groups to synagogue is now “forbidden” to prevent spread of illness and that prompted a discussion about how every rule might have a situation in which the moral and just thing is to break said rule. We’re making a silly list of rules and when they might need to be broken to help work a bit on flexibility. We also focus a lot on the helpers, like that old Mr Rodgers quote, instead of the dangers and worries. That’s the whole point of distancing–to save people and explain that it’s already working (I hope) and that when the virus has no one to jump to it disappears.
Also, I suggest jumping headfirst in your child’s special interests no matter how uninteresting or boring they may be to you. You can explicitly say that practicing social distancing right now has a big silver lining: loads of extra time for your child’s special interest. I ordered some activity books on anatomy and art to help my daughter focus on her special interests more right now. And maybe even discuss other silver linings.
Lastly, I suggest making a new weekly visual schedule and a daily visual schedule and post them on the wall. It’s amazing how much anxiety vanishes when we know what we’re supposed to be doing. Our schedule is very vague to allow for variety.
I hope this helps!