Support for Autism
Advice relating to Coronavirus for families living with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
In the current climate, where a global pandemic is taking up most of the media conversation, it can be even more difficult to manage anxiety. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that is impacting everyone’s lives.
We wanted to provide you with some information and resources to help you deal with this difficult time.
Anxiety and autism
We know that changes to routine, uncertainty, the sensory challenges of increased handwashing and the general anxiety of the situation can have a big impact for people with autism.
Most of us will have concerns at the moment but for people with autism this can often be heightened.
This anxiety can lead to meltdowns or may have a significant impact on their mental health and ability to cope.
Ideas for support:
Clarity – Keep it clear and simple and answer any questions using official government advice as detailed here.
Carry on – Familiarity and routine may be important to many people with autism, as well as the quality of their social interactions. Wherever possible, help them safeguard their routines, or help them to build new ones, as long as they are in line with the official government advice. Keeping to their usual timetable may help with this, with changes made as appropriate – for example, sticking to usual office and break hours if instructed to work from home.
Sensory opportunities – As part of a daily routine it may be helpful to provide opportunities for your child/young person to engage in enjoyable sensory activities. For further information and ideas please visit the National Autistic Society and Autism.org
Special interests – People with autism often have defined special interests. If changes mean that they cannot undertake these interests (e.g. cancellation of sporting events), help them find other ways to connect with these interests for example joining in with the activities online.
Changes – Be aware that changes to daily routines are not easy for many people with autism. Support them however you can in order to ease the impact of any change, whether due to self-isolation or due to the closure of events, workplaces, or schools.
Contact – Keep in contact with friends and family via text, email, or video call may help prevent people from feeling socially isolated or excluded.
Time – People with autism may need more time and your support to manage the changes effectively.
Useful links and resources