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Table 6 Themes identified from responses of adults with autism to the following open question: What measures could be taken to help you manage your mental health during the current COVID-19 pandemic?

From: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults with autism: a survey study across three countries

Theme Subtheme Example quote
(Continued) professional support   “I need to talk to my psychologist from time to time, but this is impossible right now as it is ‘not essential’” p. 38
“Would be nice if a professional checked up, helped with implementing tips and tools and some measure of reassurance was possible” p. 148
“Help with nuanced issues arising from the pandemic—changes to social codes, how to behave around others” p. 171
  Affordable and accessible “More easily accessible and affordable psychological/therapeutic help (via Skype, chat …)” p. 318
  Availability of various communication mediums “Something that would help me and many others would be if access to primary healthcare was available by some means other than making a phone call—e.g. SMS, online text chat, etc. Like a lot of autistic people, I have a lot of anxiety about making or receiving phone calls. If I need healthcare I have to agree to answer a phone call at an unspecified time. If I don't answer, no healthcare. This is very difficult to contemplate” p. 407
  Help structuring days “Help with creating a routine to fit the pandemic and change.” p. 333
Clearer information and rules   “It would help me a lot if the rules were much clearer. It would avoid a lot of stress” [Translated] p. 942
“Difficulty in applying rules, because they are often ambiguous or too vague (what is still allowed, what is not). You think it's clear, and then someone else in the media brings up with his or her own opinion about those rules, making it a mess. I think that for me the extra stress that occurs from COVID-19 concerns social stress because of the new but unclear rules, and not stress by the virus itself” [Translated] p. 27
  Autism-tailored information and advice “ASD Societies contacting individuals who are registered with them to advise them of the situation” p. 8
“The only tips and tricks that are easily available for people with ASD are catered towards children or people with ASD and learning disabilities” p. 224
“I was not aware that there were tips and tools for people with ASD specifically. Being made aware of these things might help.” p. 415