Those with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism

If you have a learning disability, you may be finding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak stressful. You may be worried about changes that might happen because of it, including staying at home more. You may also be worried about your family or those close to you.

The Inclusion Gloucestershire Hub has lots of information about Coronavirus (also called COVID-19).It also has information about support available. We hope that you find it useful!

We have a page for each topic. On each page there is a summary of the topic and links to help and information: https://www.inclusiongloucestershire.co.uk/covid-19/

Public Health England (PHE) has easy read guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19), how it may affect you and what you need to do to keep yourself safe and well. There is also other information available about coronavirus (COVID-19) from Mencap and how to manage difficult feelings you are having.

There are ways you can take care of yourself:

  • you should keep in touch with people you trust (like friends, family and employer) over the phone or internet.
  • there may also be self-advocacy groups in your area offering more support online or by phone. You can ask your families or carers for help to search for these groups
  • While it is important to be aware of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important not to forget about any other health conditions you might have. Make sure you take any medication you have been prescribed, keep any hospital appointments you have (unless you have been told otherwise by the hospital) and tell people if you can’t attend appointments.
  • Supporting someone with a learning disability. The help they need will depend on the nature of their disability. People with a mild or moderate learning disability may need additional accessible information and more time to understand what they might need to do to keep themselves safe and well at this time. This will be specific to each person. It will also be important to keep a degree of normality where possible, doing things that are enjoyable and enabling people to talk about how they are feeling. For useful tips for talking about feelings, see Skills for Care advice.

Some people with autism will be finding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak stressful and may be worried about getting the virus or changes that might happen because of it, including staying at home more. There are ways you can take care of yourself:

Think about how you can adjust your routines to staying at home and keep doing the things you would usually do to keep well. That might include eating food you enjoy, finding ways to keep doing your hobbies and interests online and getting exercise, once a day in your home or outside if you can. You know what strategies have helped you in difficult situations in the past, so use them again now.

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
  • learning relaxation techniques
  • creating a plan with your carer for when you feeling anxious

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 are still feeling worried and want more help. You can call the Autism Helpline on 0808 800 4104.

In addition to the advice above, if you are supporting a person with autism, bear in mind they may struggle to identify physical symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as having difficulty talking about the emotions it creates. Try to be aware of changes in behaviour that may help you to identify their emotional state, as well as physical symptoms.

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