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The autism community mobilizes itself to face COVID-19

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:

Social stories and visual guides:

Other support initiatives, resources and tips from the autism community:

Resources in easy-to-read accessible in various languages:

 

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):

European Disability Forum

International Disability Alliance