ICare4Autism International Autism Online Conference - ASD and Anxiety in Extraordinary Times

MARCH 2021 INTERNATIONAL ONLINE CONFERENCE ON ASD & ANXIETY IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES: Opening Remarks from Dr. Joshua Weinstein & Dr. Eric Hollande

The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4Autism) held its 2021 International Conference Online on Wednesday, March 10th, focusing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the autism community worldwide, and specifically on the challenges brought onto their mental health and wellbeing.


Dr. Joshua Weinstein, ICare4Autism founder and CEO, addressed hundreds of attendees remotely viewing the event worldwide. "The uncertainties surrounding COVID have increased distress for all people, and in particular individuals with autism. Having to deal with life changes such as enhanced personal hygiene for hand washing and face covering, all the different guidelines, distancing, as well as social isolation—that is one of the most heart rendering problems in our society today. The constant stream of new and sometimes contradictory information has really taken a toll on our people," Dr. Weinstein began.

"The uncertainties surrounding COVID have increased
distress for all people, and in particular individuals with
autism."

He then proceeded to introduce the distinguished lineup of speakers from around the globe: Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore, Eric Hollander, Merry Barua, Gal Meiri, Hakon Hakonarson and S. Mariam Aljunied, before handing the floor over to ICare4Autism Chairman and conference speaker, Dr. Eric Hollander.

 

Dr. Hollander added that not every individual or family responds in the same way to an unprecedented crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from individual strengths and weaknesses, many people on the autism spectrum suffer from comorbid disorders, such as anxiety disorders, which may shape the way any individual deals with some kind of a difficult or traumatic event.

He added, “There are, however, some patients with ASD who find that they prefer to stay at home and learn online; that there’s less sensory overload, and they feel that although they’ve been worried about issues of contamination, the world is just catching up to them, so that they’ve been ahead of the curve.”

 

To conclude, both Dr. Weinstein and Dr. Hollander thanked the event’s attendees and sponsors, noting that none of the organization’s progress in develop innovations in science, theory, education, autism awareness, employment and workplace inclusion, would be possible without their enthusiastic support and dedication.