Access to Healthcare Services for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during the Pandemic.
With the support of EWMI ACCESS, the Board of Independent Education Consultants is implementing a project to increase access to health care services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between March and May 2021, the Board of Independent Education Consultants conducted a survey in 4 locations (Tbilisi, Gori, Zugdidi, and Ajara region) to identify the barriers people with ASD face (together with medical personnel) while getting/delivering medical aid during the pandemic. The organization inquired 33 parents/caregivers of children with autism, 18 doctors, and 21 psychologists.
According to the survey, the quarantine spaces are not adapted for hosting people with ASD. In addition, the closed space and the cutting of social ties exacerbate the psycho-emotional state of people with ASD. Moreover, the doctors’ preparedness at the primary healthcare facilities to deal with autistic people is a severe problem (especially in Tbilisi). Parents also have fears and do not trust hospital treatment due to low awareness of the medical personnel and the facilities not being suitable to the needs of their children.
A survey report in the Georgian language is available on this link. Several videos were also prepared within the project, where parents speak about problems encountered while getting medical services.
Based on the research results, the authors of the project, together with other stakeholders, will develop and pilot an inclusive model for delivering effective medical services to people with ASD.