Autism-Europe is currently gathering useful resources and tips from across the world as COVID19 is particularly challenging for autistic people who see an disruption in their routine, and have difficulty to face uncertainty and change, while their support services are also being impacted.
AE and its members – together with the wider disability movement- are advocating for the rights of autistic people to be respected and their needs to be addressed at this time of crisis.
It is essential that autistic people and their families are provided with resources and accessible tools to understand and communicate about the situation and constant changes linked to the COVID-19. They should also be supported at this difficult time.
Many people in the autism community are sharing resources and advice to support autistic people, for example:
Resources to help cope with stress and uncertainty:
- Webinar about maintaining calmness, by AE Irish member Autism Spectrum Information Advice & Meeting Point (AsIam)
- Guide for people having difficulty to cope with uncertainty, by AE partner Autistica, UK
- Guide to Anxiety in Autism Sebastian B Gaigg, Autism Research Group City, University of London
Social stories and visual guides:
- Social story to explain the situation to children on the spectrum by AsIam
- Covid19 testing visual guide, by AsIam
- Social story that parents can customize to include any information relevant to them or their family by blogger Little Puddins customized in German by Autismus Deutsche Schweiz, of AE member Autisme Suisse
- Social story in Portuguese , also available in English from AE Portuguese partner, Inovar Autismo
- Social story by Carol Gray adapted into German by Autismus Deutsche Schweiz
- Easy-to-understand comic on what is Corona virus by German autistic comic artist Daniela Schreiter (Fuchskind): in German and in English
Other support initiatives, resources and tips from the autism community:
- Information page on COVID-19 by the National Autistic Society (UK)
- Page regularly updated with resources by AsIam
- Information and resources in Polish by Foundation JiM
- Online support help desk for Italian families of people on the autism spectrum launched by AE member from Italy, Fondazione Oltre Il Labirinto Onlus.
- Information and resources in German from newsletter by AE German member Autismus Deutschland:
- Information and resources page in German by Autismus Deutsche Schweiz:
- Autism and the Corona virus: 20 tips by Peter Vermeulen, also available in Estonian, Spanish , Danish , German, Dutch, Swedish
- Tips in German by Marlies Hübner, Austrian autistic author and activist. Also available in English
- Autism & Covid-19: How to Support Autistic People During the Coronavirus Pandemic, by James Sinclair autistic author (UK)
- Bank of communication tools for you to download and print, created in response to the COVID crisis by Patient Provider Communications
Resources in easy-to-read accessible in various languages:
- Inclusion-Europe has listed easy-to-read information available across the EU.
The needs of autistic people have to be taken into consideration when applying safety and health measures
It is crucial that the rights of autistic people are not overlooked at this time of crisis and confinement. We stand together with the disability movement to ask decision-makers to ensure the full respect of the rights of people with disabilities and support the demands included in the European Disability Forum’s open letter to leaders of the EU.
We very much welcome measures aiming at providing adequate support to autistic people and their families, such as at this hospital in Madrid that provides a helpline for autistic people and their families, and we call for this kind of initiative to be systematically implemented across all countries affected. It is also essential that reasonable adjustments are foreseen in the healthcare system, to deliver an accessible response to the needs of autistic people. For example, it entails having the possibility to be accompanied by a trusted support person or making sure that sensory issues are taken into consideration.
In the context of the country lock-down, the Spanish Health Ministry has also permitted autistic people to access the streets during COVID19 lock-down as not being allowed to go outside can be challenging for them thanks to advocacy efforts from our members Autismo Espana and Cermi Estatal.
More information and resources about COVID-19 (including in easy-to-read):