New Survey Finds Autistic Women and Children are Hit Hardest By Quarantine
While the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the daily routines of many people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a new survey has found that women and children on the spectrum are the hardest hit. According to a report this month by Spectrum News.org, the survey was conducted by SPARK, a project connecting people with autism and their families to researchers recruiting for studies.
In an email to participants, SPARK asked questions designed to gauge how people with autism are managing during the Coronavirus quarantine, which has resulted in limited access to schools and clinics. One version of the survey was sent to families of autistic children, while another was sent to autistic adults living independently. The results of the surveys were sobering. Over 60% of the families reported major disruptions to their children’s usual autism services, such as speech or behavioral therapy. Of the 36% currently participating in teletherapy or other remote services, less than half said their children were benefitting from it.
According to Spectrum’s report, parents of children below the age of 6 reported the most severe disruptions in autism-related services. They also reported feeling overwhelmed by pandemic-induced schedule changes more than the parents of older children with autism did. Meanwhile, the survey of autistic adults found that more autistic women than men reported disruptions coronavirus-related disruptions, with more women reporting negative impacts on their employment, home life, and mental health. While just over half of the men reported that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health, almost three quarters of the autistic women survey said their mental health has been negatively affected.