Concerned woman
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that thousands of people in the UK now have. It is impacting everyone’s lives, including autistic people and their families.

We wanted to provide you with some information and resources about Coronavirus to help you deal with this difficult time.

If you are looking for a social story to help explain Coronavirus to your relative or the person you support, Carol Gray has created one.

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus is a virus which causes COVID-19, a new illness.

If you are ill with the virus you will usually have:

  • a new, continuous cough – you start coughing repeatedly
  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a change or loss of your sense of taste or smell

Most people who get COVID-19 will get better.

What should I do if I think I have the virus?

  • Don’t go to your GP surgery, hospital or a pharmacy.
  • Stay at home.
  • If you are staying at home and not going near other people, you do not need to tell the NHS. 

The Government has released some advice about how to manage if you’re staying at home:

If your symptoms get worse or you don’t feel any better after seven days, then you should contact NHS. There is an online service or you can call 111.

How to help stop Coronavirus spreading

It’s important that we all try to stop the virus from spreading. 

If you have symptoms: 
  • If you live alone, stay at home for ten days from the first day your symptoms started.
  • If you live with others, stay at home for ten days but other members of your household should stay at home for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the date the first person in the household showed symptoms.

There is more information about this on the government’s website

There are other things we should all do, even if you don’t have any symptoms:
  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • wash your hands regularly. You should do this after coughing or sneezing and before eating any food.

There is information online about the best way to wash your hands on the NHS website.

Stay at home, only go out to:
  • exercise or spend time outdoors 
  • shop for essentials such as food or medicines
  • fulfil any medical or care needs
  • travel to work if you cannot work from home

If you do go out, keep two metres (six foot) apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer. Wash your hands when you get home. 

If you had a letter from the NHS telling you that you are "extremely clinically vulnerable" (also called "shielding") you should still stay at home at all times. 

How can I talk to my autistic relative about what is happening?

You can download Carol Gray’s social story to help explain the current situation or use Mencap’s EasyRead information.

Resources to help you

We know that changes to routine, the sensory challenges of increased handwashing and the general anxiety of the situation can have a big impact for autistic people. We've created some handy tips to help you and your family in these difficult times. 

As the situation changes, we will update our resources and produce new ones to support you or your relatives and add them to our online resources

National Autistic Society’s schools, adult services and other activities for autistic people and their families

The health and well-being of everyone we support or who attends our activities and events is our absolute priority. We are sure you understand why we have already taken a decision to stop some activities. If there are any changes to an activity or service we run, we will always contact you.

If you or your relative attends one of our schools or adult services, please be assured that we will contact you directly if there are any changes to their usual service.

If you’ve signed up to attend or take part in one of our conferences, events or activities, we will contact you to let you know if these are going ahead.

Our Helpline and other online support services remain open.