HASH Network member, Dr Anna Urbanowicz, is involved in an ongoing project exploring the experiences of autistic Australians and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team – composed of autistic and non-autistic researchers and led by Professor Liz Pellicano at Macquarie University – sought to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on everyday life. In-depth interviews were conducted with 35 autistic adults, 80 parents of autistic children (35 of these parents were autistic themselves) and 16 young autistic people about their experiences during the pandemic.
A report outlining the findings of this qualitative project was released in August 2020. It reveals that while many autistic people welcomed enhanced financial support from the government, the increased accessibility of some health and educational services and the slowing down of pressurised routines, they nonetheless felt worryingly unsupported during the pandemic. In particular, participants reported that they found government messages conflicting and confusing, efforts to move therapies and other health support online unsatisfactory and individualised support for schooling from home lacking.
The project was featured on ABC News.
Following increased COVID-19 cases in Melbourne throughout July and August 2020, parts of Victoria, Australia entered a second lockdown, with stricter restrictions than the first. The team conducted follow-up interviews with participants living in Melbourne about their experiences this prolonged lockdown. The team are currently analysing the data and preparing a report outlining findings and recommendations.
Please feel free to email Dr Anna Urbanowicz at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.