Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
It is natural to experience emotional ups and downs. Life events affect everyone, and some of us are more vulnerable to experiencing mental health challenges because of life events both past and present. While autism is not a mental illness, the individuals you serve may have experienced mental health challenges in the past or may be currently experiencing difficulties. You can take action by teaching someone to recognize the signs of their own mental health status or assist them in getting proper services.
In a crisis situation, work to guarantee the immediate safety of the individual and others involved. Use calm and concrete language, without speaking a lot. Find out what the person needs to feel calm, and if they can’t respond, provide a known calming tool or strategy or consider removing him from the situation. It might be necessary following the crisis to refer the individual to other professionals or co-workers for more in-depth care and decision-making. If you are uncertain, ask your supervisor for guidance.
Possible mental health challenges might include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety/panic disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, or other co-diagnoses. Of course, it’s not your job to diagnose these; however, knowing how to identify the signs can be helpful to both you and the individual.
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.