On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day 2020
Message and recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine
April 2, 2020
The containment situation imposed during the Covid-19 epidemic destabilizes autistic people and their entourages. Many autistic children, adolescents and adults, some with severe disabilities, usually accompanied by specialized teams, have returned to their parents’ homes on a full-time basis, often in very crowded conditions. The specific difficulties of autistic persons in everyday life can pose complex problems of family functioning, particularly in learning barrier gestures, planning the day, managing behavioural crises, continuity of medication, professional home care, etc.
Various actions have been implemented as a matter of urgency by the government (https://handicap.gouv.fr/) to respond at the national level to questions and provide concrete help to families, autistic persons and the professionals who accompany and care for them (https://handicap.gouv.fr/actualites/article/covid-19-et-autisme-retrouvez-tous-les-dispositifs-d-appui-mis-en-place).
One of these actions, Autism Info service includes:
– a free national telephone listening platform
– a strengthened multidisciplinary national team for concrete responses to the needs expressed
– a daily updated “Frequently Asked Questions” section
– a website to direct individuals and families to the appropriate aids
The National Academy of Medicine recommends
– to inform doctors and local health professionals of the government actions implemented
– to give them all the means to ensure that the systems are accessible to autistic families and individuals throughout the country
– to mobilise associations in the field, professionals and carers so that no family remains isolated.