Autism & War, Conflict, Crisis, and Displacement
Many autistic individuals and their families face extreme challenges particular to autism coping with the chaos and terror caused by conditions of war, conflict, crisis, and displacement which may include the following:
- traumatic experiences,
- sensory overload from shelling and explosions,
- stress caused by unfamiliar, loud, crowded environments,
- disruption in routine and daily environment,
- fears for their safety and for the lives of family members,
- lack of appropriate support services,
- greater vulnerability to abandonment, neglect, and abuse, including sexual abuse,
- physical injury, pain, and experiences of death and loss, and
- overall terrifying conditions for themselves and their families.
Also many individuals on the spectrum are unable to access emergency communications and unable to benefit from humanitarian aid aimed at the general population. As a result, these individuals and their families may face great difficulty with evacuating dangerous areas, may be delayed in fleeing, or may be left behind entirely.
We share the following links and resources to increase awareness and understanding of the plight of individuals with autism and their families during war, conflict, crisis, and displacement, and to provide more information about how to offer assistance and comfort to this special population. While some of these resources relate to situations in specific regions, many of the recommendations and approaches may be viewed as applicable more generally to conflict situations elsewhere. Some of these resources focus on the autism community while others are applicable to the general disability community.
This page will be updated periodically as new resources are published. This resource page is for informational purposes only. The NLM Family Foundation’s inclusion of resources does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the programs or of the material on these websites.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the NLM Family Foundation.