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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption across the globe and has had a big impact on the lives of autistic people as they face disruption in their routine, changes to their support services, and are faced with new challenges arising from the socio-economic impact of the crisis.

Please note that due to COVID-19 limitations, we currently cannot maintain a continuous telephone hotline. It is recommended to email us via secretariat@autismeurope.org or email staff directly (email addresses available on AE staff page) if you have a specific query. Thank you for your cooperation in these times.

In March 2020, the World Health Organisation classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 surpassed the expectations of health experts and lead to the implementation of extraordinary measures. These measures have put a strain on many people’s lives, especially the lives of people on the autism spectrum. It is crucial that the rights of autistic people are not overlooked and that pre-existing issues are not intensified at this time of crisis and confinement.

To help autistic people and their families navigate through this difficult period and to shed light on issues arising from the crisis, AE has published a series of documents, resources and articles on COVID-19. This page will be updated regularly with new resources and information as the situation surrounding COVID-19 unfolds.

COVID-19 vaccination of autistic people

In order to mark World Health Day 2021 (April 7), Autism-Europe releases a position paper strongly demanding priority access for the COVID-19 vaccine of autistic people and their families, carers, and support persons. AE calls the WHO and EU to stress to all member states the need to include autistic people and all people with disabilities in priority groups, putting special emphasis on ageing adults, and autistic people with co-occurring conditions and other disabilities.

Autistic people are people with disabilities, too. Yet, people on the autism spectrum do not always have priority access to vaccination. AE deplores that institutions where autistic people are living have become hotbeds for COVID-19 Furthermore, there has been a lack of resources for accessibility of vaccinations. AE understands vaccination scepticism as there can always be immunological reactions and side effects to any vaccination as well as varying degrees of effectiveness. AE is aware of divergent opinions about vaccinations in general. The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine is very high and the chances of experiencing side effects from scientifically proven vaccinations is very low.

Download the position paper


Released in December 2020, this report outlines the findings of the survey conducted by Autism-Europe, as well as incorporates media reports and findings from its member’s associations and academia, to bring awareness to the experiences and challenges of autistic people and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have outlined recommendations for how autistic people and their families can be better supported during the pandemic and beyond.

Download Autism-Europe’s report

At this time, 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. To support this need, Autism-Europe has gathered useful resources and tips from our members, partners and other stakeholders from across Europe in different languages on how to deal with issues surrounding COVID-19.  The list includes resources to help cope with stress and uncertainty, social stories and visual guides, and other support initiatives, resources and tips from the autism community.

List of resources

Autism-Europe’s Survey 

In response to the crisis, Autism-Europe created a survey on the situation of autistic people and their families during the COVID-19 spread.

Autistic people and their families were invited to answer and disseminate the survey which was available in the following languages: English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Bulgarian, Greek and Ukrainian.

The result of the survey will be used to elaborate policy recommendations.

More information

Schooling options for autistic pupils narrowed

The measures introduced amid the COVID-19 spread have had a major impact on the schooling options for autistic pupils across Europe. Autistic learners and their families often need individualised planning and support taking into account their context as well as developmental and academic levels.

Autism-Europe gathered examples from some of its member organisations regarding how the return to school is developing across different European countries and regions, and what are the main challenges and specific measures that governments are adopting in relation to inclusive education.

More information

Autism Europe’s News 

Related publications and policy statements

European Disability Forum: Open letter to leaders at the EU and in EU countries: COVID-19 – Disability inclusive response

COVID 19 – medical guidelines should not discriminate against persons with disabilities and the response of the World Health Organisation.

and more

European Expert Group on the transition from institutional to community-based care: Joint Statement: “COVID-19 crisis: People living in institutions must not be written off”

Inclusion Europe: 5 steps to prevent harm  to people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Coronavirus emergency. 

EASPD: Open letter to the European Commission about ensuring EU’s response to COVID-19 tackles threat of social care emergency

Information in Easy-to-read format

General information about COVID-19

About COVID-19 Vaccines