Life has certainly changed for everyone over the last few weeks, as we deal with all the changes to our routine and way of life, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For some people, however, any changes present additional problems. For autistic people and their loved ones, additional anxiety and changes to routine can be extremely difficult. We know uncertainty is often particularly unsettling, and there has been lots of uncertainty recently.

This week is World Autism Awareness week and I’m reflecting on how it will be a particularly anxious time for autistic children and adults, and those that love and live with them

One parent told me this week: “Our biggest challenge is managing all the changes. Our 10-year-old is very unsettled and finding this so hard to not have the structure of a regular school day.” I know there will be many others who are struggling with the situation, whilst also dealing with the fear of becoming ill from the virus.

Here at The Retreat we are encouraging all our existing clients to continue their appointments via video link and we also want to reach out to others to consider linking up with us to provide support.

Using technology to support autistic people and their family seems to be going really well. Once people get used to it, I think a lot of them actually find it easier. They tell us they really like to speak from the comfort of their own home and it feels more relaxing. It’s just about getting used to a different way of communicating.

It’s also quite useful to be able to talk to other members of the family who are not in the same room, or even the same house, about what they can do to help their child or loved one. This is something we do as part of the Autism assessment and we can continue to do this via video link.

I’ve been carrying out video consultations for some time now here at The Retreat, as many of the people who ask for support live quite a distance away or need to be flexible with work.

Of course everyone’s situation is very different, but during these uncertain times I think it’s particularly important to use all the tools we have in our tool box to support each other.

Using technology to carry out consultations may seem strange at first, but if it can help people and give comfort to those who are looking for a diagnosis, I would definitely recommend people give it a try.