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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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What are They Telling You? Guide for Justice Professionals

A Guide for Justice and Child Welfare Professionals on Individuals with Autism


This resource, created by ASERT, provides information for justice and child welfare professionals about different behaviors they may observe in individuals with autism, how those behaviors may be misinterpreted, and what they may actually mean.

What You See/HearWhat You ThinkWhat They are Telling You
Little to no eye contactSomething to hideEye contact makes me anxious and is difficult for me. I cannot look at you if you want me to hear and understand you.
Aloof, inappropriate commentsNo remorse, rudeI do not understand the social implications of how I am speaking to you. I tell it like it is.
Mimicking what you are sayingHe is mocking me or not taking me seriouslyI have to repeat what you say to try to comprehend it and sometimes repeating things helps me calm down.
Strange facial expressions and body languageDrugs, intellectual disabilityAutism causes my body to behave and react differently. I am trying to listen to you and do what you ask but sometimes my body won’t let me. It is more difficult for me to communicate using “typical” facial expressions and body language.
Ignoring your questions, taking too long to answerNot ListeningI heard you but I need extra processing time. Please slow down, do not ask me more than once, and allow me some extra time to answer.
Plugging their ears, closing their eyesNoncomplianceIt is too bright and loud in here, my senses are overloaded and my flight or fight re-sponse is in overdrive. Please give me some time to calm down.
Does not want to be touchedHiding Something Even the lightest touch hurts me. Please warn me if you are going to touch me.
Refusing to complyDeceptive, UncooperativeMy world is very chaotic. Routine helps make the world calmer. When my routine is disrupted I become very agitated and anxious.
Very agreeable, admits to anythingGuiltyMaking friends is hard. I have learned that doing what others want makes having friends easier. Sometimes I agree or admit to things because I have been told that that is the way to get along with other people.
The need to repeat the same directions numerous timesNot ListeningI learn better by seeing. Can you please show me what you want me to do?

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