Isaac Riggins

Young, Autistic, and Surviving a Pandemic: Self-Assessed and Parental Views of Social and Emotional Health Among Autistic Youth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions into social isolation, exacerbating the social and emotional struggles many already faced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. For autistic youth in particular, deficits in social and emotional functioning are characteristic of their condition. Combining the social isolation, the lack of resources available to support those with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and the emotional toll of living through a pandemic, the non-physical status of autistic youth must be assessed after this public health crisis. The purpose of this study was to determine the nature of five autistic youth’s social and emotional wellbeing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, utilizing self-assessments as well as parent responses. Using baseline data from a survey for autistic high schoolers in a mentorship program, five mentee responses and six parent responses were analyzed in a descriptive mixed-method study design. As hypothesized, social and emotional wellbeing were both poor among autistic youth, and there were disconnects in perceptions of wellbeing between parents and autistic children