Families Facing COVID-19: Understanding Resiliency and Coping in Autistic Individuals

Dr. Carly McMorris, a Registered Psychologist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary along with her colleagues at York University and the University of British Columbia, are launching a research project that aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of autistic individuals and their families in Canada.

They are looking for Canadian caregivers of individuals of any age with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to complete an online survey. The survey will take about 15-30 minutes to complete, and will ask questions about disruptions in the family’s life as a result of COVID-19 (e.g. whether anyone in the family has had COVID-19, changes to employment, financial hardship), the caregiver’s own perceived stress, mental health, well-being and coping, and their child’s mental health and coping. Families will receive a $10 gift card for their time. Please note they are in the process of expanding this study to ensure autistic adults can also participate.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for everyone, and it may be especially stressful for neurodiverse individuals such as those with autism and their families. Regular routines may be disrupted, finances may be tight and uncertain, and supports and services that families may have otherwise been accessing (e.g., therapies, respite, counselling, support groups and other social networks) may be harder to reach.  When these changes happen, the behavioural and emotional challenges that often occur in autistic children can become more problematic – adding even further to caregiver stress levels.

The aim of this study is to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of autistic individuals and their families. What is learned from this study will help identify the current needs and priorities of families during and after the pandemic. They would also like to know how families of children with ASD who are already vulnerable to stress and mental health concerns can be supported  now and post-quarantine.

More information can be found at: https://familiesfacingcovid19.com.

The survey can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/Families-Facing-Covid


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