Does autism protect against COVID quarantine effects?
COVID-19 outbreak has imposed an eight-week confinement in France. During this period, children and their families were exposed to a full-time home life. The aim of this study was to assess the emotional experience and tolerance of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in this particular context. Method: A clinical survey was proposed to parents and rated by professionals once a week during the quarantine period in France. 95 autistic children followed by the child and adolescent
... adolescent psychiatry department of Tours university hospital were assessed from the 18th of March to the 8th of May. The following clinical points were investigated: child anxiety, family anxiety, behavior problems, impact on sleep, impact on appetite, impact on school work, family tension, confinement intolerance, difficulties to follow a schedule, isolation behavior. Results: Despite minor changes in family anxiety and school work, no difference was highlighted between clinical scores collected at the beginning and at the end of this period. ASD children with or without intellectual disability had non-significant clinical changes during quarantine. This evolution was also independent of the accommodation type (house or apartment) and the parental status (relationship, separated or isolated). Conclusion: The sameness dimension in autism and parents adaptation may be involved in this clinical stability during COVID confinement. Moreover, specialized tools and support provided by professionals could have participated to these outcomes and must be regularly promoted in order to help families in this still difficult period.