5. Support for autistic people
You may be finding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak stressful and be worried about getting the virus or changes that might happen because of it, including having to stay at home. There are ways you can take care of yourself and prevent spreading the virus:
Understand what is happening
Keep up to date with information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) from sources you can trust, such as the NHS website.
Help to stop the virus from spreading
There are 4 easy steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting coronavirus or spreading it to others:
- wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- use a tissue for coughs and sneezes and bin it
- avoid touching your face, including your mouth and eyes
- get up to date information about staying at home or what to do if you feel unwell on the NHS 111 website. If you are unsure about your symptoms speak to someone you trust about them, like a support worker.
Plan to keep mentally well
Do the things you would usually do to keep well, like eating food you enjoy and taking exercise, once a day outside if you can. If you have support from others, plan with them how you can remain well and relaxed. There are also other things you can do to help to manage your emotions if you feel you are losing control, such as:
- keeping a diary
- using apps like Brain in Hand
- learning relaxation techniques
- creating a plan with your carer for when you feeling anxiety
You know what strategies have helped in the past, so use them again now. The National Autistic Society guidance on managing anxiety might also be helpful.
Get help if you are struggling
Hearing about coronavirus (COVID-19), and the changes it causes in your daily life, might make you feel like you don’t have control, or make you worried or scared about your health. These feelings are common. Try to speak to someone you trust such as a friend, family member or supporter.
If you do become unwell and need medical treatment, share your hospital passport or autism diagnosis so staff know the best way to support you.
If you are still feeling worried and want more help. You can call the Autism Helpline on 0808 800 4104.