Individuals with autism may not be able to verbally express their fear, frustration, and anxiety about the many changes and/or their health, so these expressions may be demonstrated through other means. Caregivers should be aware of the behavior of individuals with autism during these uncertain times and be alert for signs of anxiety and depression. These may include a change in sleeping or eating patterns, increases in repetitive behaviors, excessive worry or rumination, increased agitation or irritability, or decreases in self-care (Hedges, White, & Smith, 2014, 2015). If these behavior changes are observed, additional support from mental health and/or medical providers such as a family doctor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist may be warranted. The individual may require more support or different types of support (e.g., regular therapy, regular exercise, medication). Most mental health providers and non-urgent care medical providers are offering services via telehealth, and emergency legislation has expanded insurance coverage (including Medicaid) for these options.
Be Aware of Changing Behaviors Strategy Packet
The Be Aware of Changing Behaviors Strategy Packet contains all of the content and resources related to tuning into the mental health of individuals with ASD.