COVID-19 communications and the experiences of autistic people

Alison Wilde, Robyn Steward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper focused on the particular challenges that communications on Covid-19 presented for autistic people. It draws on a wider study which used inclusive methods to seek the understandings that people with learning disabilities and autistic people gained on how to live their lives during the pandemic.
The study was conducted because many disabled people found themselves in a situation where services struggled to provide even basic support, and it became apparent people with learning disabilities and autistic people were exceptionally high risk groups in multiple ways—socially, economically, ideologically, and communicatively. Focusing on interviews with a diverse range of autistic people (gender, ethnicity, sex, socio-economic, age, and intellectual abilities), we outline common themes which emerged qualitative (episodic) interviews with autistic people. We will highlight the importance of intersecting barriers to inclusion, and the importance of support and resources in dealing with the additional barriers brought about by the pandemic. Further, we demonstrate the ways in which autistic people who have access to resources have been in unique positions to find inclusionary solutions to the provision of essential information on future crises, which are of wider benefit to the autistic community and beyond.

Overall, we will show why the study found that it is necessary to engage with the communication needs of autistic people, and people with learning disabilities to ensure that their well-being is optimised and to meet imperatives core to any pandemic; the prioritisation of inclusive forms of communication which build trust and minimise rumours.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBSA Annual Conference 2023
Subtitle of host publicationSociological voices in public discourse: Abstract Book
Place of PublicationDurham
PublisherBritish Sociological Association
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes
EventBSA Annual Conference 2023: Sociological Voices in Public Discourse - University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Apr 202314 Apr 2023


ConferenceBSA Annual Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion keywords

  • Disability Equality

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