Help us speak for those who cannot! Autism in the time of Covid-19

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Autism advocacy organisations across South Africa have banded together to appeal to the government to relax some lockdown laws to assist children and families during this time. Eight autism lobby organisations have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second time, pleading for concessions to restore much needed “routine” and access to support services for autistic people and their families.

Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears - with little to no response at all - nothing to indicate that the government and their NCCC (National Coronavirus Command Council) have even read their joint petition in aid of autistic and ASD children across the country during this extremely stressful period for these children and children with disablities!

“We hardly received an acknowledgement. Let alone any meaningful response [to the first letter],” said Liza Aziz, founder and chairperson of Action in Autism. She said the level four regulations, which permit exercise between 6am and 9am, were a “relief” but did not accommodate the specific needs of the community.

Aziz explained that exercise helped autistic people regulate their emotions and calm their central nervous system but it has to be self-regulatory. “Part of the diagnosis for autism includes difficulties with social communication. This means that noisy overwhelming spaces with lots of people can be confusing and anxiety inducing,” she said. 

“Walking or exercising in quiet spaces are often best for autistic people. Many single parents who work from home, have requested an exercise sensory break in the late afternoon or early evening.” This will help with sleep disorders due to lack of routine and inactivity for most of these children due to prolonged periods indoors. It will help to stop the self-harming and meltdowns that they are experiencing - it is truly traumatic for them.

We need President Cyril Ramaphosa, Dr Mhize and the National Coronavirus Command Council to acknowledge our pleas for all disabled, autistic and ASD children across our land and do something about this dire situation which is tearing families apart and causing serious mental health issues!
Answer us NOW! We need HELP - and we want dialogue - speak to us, so far the conversation  has been a one-way street - communication is key!