THE IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON AUTISTIC POPULATIONS: A LITERATURE REVIEW
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAutism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts various aspects of life, including behavior, socialization, and communication. The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to unique challenges that this population was not well-prepared to handle. The purpose of this literature review is to understand the range of effects that COVID-19 had on daily living, access to resources, symptom prevalence, and overall mental health in autistic individuals. Across the studies conducted since the onset of the pandemic, substantial adverse impacts related to these aspects of life have been found. Given that autistic populations were especially vulnerable to the rapid changes brought about by the pandemic, they experienced a worsening of the challenges they previously dealt with. The findings suggest that the dissemination of specialized information and support regarding how to cope with these changes will be crucial to the outcomes autistic individuals experience as a result of the pandemic. Going forward, future research should focus on further investigating these impacts and providing empirical evidence to both improve and develop treatment options that increase the effectiveness, accessibility, and diversity of care offered to this population.