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Sunday, March 28, 2021

An Autism-Friendly Vaccination Clinic

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters.  And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all.

A Philadelphia Eagles release by Chris McPherson:
"Everyone wants to be on that road to normalcy," says Eagles Autism Foundation Executive Director Ryan Hammond.

While the increased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine provides a light at the end of the tunnel after one of the most difficult years of our generation, there is a group of people on the sideline whose voices and needs have not been heard in the sprint to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle – the autism community.

A recent study across several hundred health care organizations in the United States concluded that individuals on the spectrum are at a substantially increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Shouldn't the vaccine alleviate those concerns? On the surface, yes, but individuals with autism are not able to wait in long lines at distribution centers or wear masks and maintain a safe social distance at a pharmacy. Even if those with autism are eligible to receive the vaccine, roadblocks are hiding that light at the end of the tunnel.

On Saturday, the Eagles Autism Foundation provided hope for those on the spectrum by hosting a vaccination clinic at Lincoln Financial Field in partnership with Divine Providence Village. More than 1,000 vaccinations were administered as the Eagles Autism Foundation provided a sensory-friendly environment featuring a visual schedule, story-based intervention, and quiet rooms for all eligible members.