Coronavirus restrictions increase stress for families of autistic children, adults

WESTON, Fla. – Among the many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic are those faced by the families and caregivers of people on the autism spectrum.

“Children, adults and teens with autism, they have challenges with things like masks because they have some sensory issues and they may not tolerate the mask, and because of that, they have difficulty following the rules that the CDC asks us to follow,” said Dr. Adrien Eshraghi, with UHealth-Miller School of Medicine.

Eshraghi said caregivers themselves are suffering from a form of burn-out because support resources are not available.

“You have to imagine there’s a team to help these patients with autism," Eshraghi said. "They have ADA therapies, speech therapies, occupational therapy and special needs school. Once social distancing was the rule and the school closed, parents have to be with the kids 24/7, so you can imagine the burden that could be on mom and dad, and the burn out.”

He said the added stress can increase the risk of developing mental health issues, further impacting the well-being of those on the autism spectrum.

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