Protecting Healthcare Rights of People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during the Pandemic
In the frameworks of the EWMI ACCESS’s inter-sectoral collaboration grant – which aims to support cooperation between businesses and civil society organizations – the Collegium of Independent Education Consultants together with the medical center Pineo endeavors to ensure uninterrupted and needs-based access to healthcare services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during the pandemic.
Communication problems, increased sensory sensitivity and difficulties in adapting to new circumstances, all of which are characteristic to people with ASD, make it especially hard to provide them with proper care during the pandemic (specifically testing on COVID-19, hospitalization, and even placing them under quarantine). According to the research conducted by the Collegium of Independent Education Consultants, none of the current state protocols and regulations envisions peculiarities and special needs of diagnosing and treating people with ASD during the pandemic. In order to partially fill this gap, the organization devised a short guidebook for parents and caregivers on how to prepare people with ASD for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Another guidebook for medical personnel on how to accept and treat people with ASD in the hospitals during the pandemic was also developed and distributed soon after.
The project team continues in-depth research in 4 regions of Georgia to identify all barriers and problems that people with ASD face while getting medical care during the pandemic. The research consists of interviews with medical personnel and caregivers of people with ASD. Based on the survey findings, an inclusive and needs-based treatment model will be designed and introduced.