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.
The lay abstract:
Autistic adults, adults with intellectual disability, and adults with other mental health conditions may have higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or experiencing more severe illness from COVID-19 if infected. We used data from Medicaid to look at whether autistic adults and other adults with intellectual disability and other mental health conditions were more likely to have risk factors for COVID-19, such as living in a residential facility, receiving services regularly in the home from outside caregivers, having had a long hospitalization, having had avoidable hospitalizations, and having high-risk health conditions. We found that autistic adults had higher odds of living in a residential facility, receiving in-home services from outside caregivers, having had an avoidable hospitalization, and having a high-risk health condition, compared to neurotypical adults without mental health conditions. Adults with intellectual disability had similar odds of having these conditions. Adults with other mental health conditions were also more likely to live in a residential facility, receive services from outside caregivers, and have had avoidable hospitalizations compared to the neurotypical population without mental health conditions. They had three times higher odds of having a high-risk health condition. High risk of COVID-19 among autistic adults and adults with intellectual disability and mental health conditions should be recognized by clinicians, and these groups should be prioritized for vaccine outreach.