Effect of COVID-19 on Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Narrative StudyAuthor(s): Mitra Joudi, Sheida Rezaei Jiryaei, Payam Khalafi and Mohsen Hosseinbor*
Background and aim: COVID-19 pandemic causes various negative impacts on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The main purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, leisure time at home, education, job status, and vulnerability of autistic people by a narrative review study.
Materials and methods: To carry out this study, all studies related to the topic under discussion during 2020-2021 by systematic search in internationally available databases, including Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed, and Google Scholar, were checked out. Finally, 23 completely related studies were selected to extract the results.
Results: The results showed that due to the inherent characteristics of people with ASD, such as differences in communication, socialization, and executive function, autistic people are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic than non-autistic people. A review of similar studies in the past has shown that the negative effects of this pandemic on people with ASD, families, caregivers, and professionals associated with these patients are well felt. In most countries of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected mental health, educational and professional activities, leisure, and access to health and medical services in the community of people with ASD.
Conclusion: Considering the different negative impacts of this pandemic on individuals with ASD, it can be concluded that different strategies should be used to reduce these negative impacts. These strategies can include setting up special centres to provide health care for autistic individuals, educating parents, educators, and caregivers (to provide different ways of educating individuals with autism), providing financial assistance to families with autistic individuals, etc.