How to cope with lockdown if you have autism

Radio presenter and Asperger's champion Alex Manners spoke to Healthwatch ahead of his talk organised by Bristol Autism Support tomorrow (April 7th). His tips for coping with the pressures of Covid-19? "Find a project and focus on the next few days."
Alex M Talk

Alex, who was diagnosed with Asperger's (a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder) in 2007, says he was struggling during the first lockdown and spoke to his local GP who gave him good advice.

He also got involved with another project; painting his grandmother's picnic table and Wendy house. The 24-year-old was given free rein on colours and opted for pink and blue, and found some colourful clothes to match. Very apt for the man who created Rainbow Man children's stories which he reads on local radio. Alex will talk about Covid-19 and lockdown at the Bristol Autism Support event at 7pm tomorrow (April 7th) book on this link

Alex shares his top tips for lockdown and boosting mental wellbeing and explains what helped him get through the sometimes long days.

Have you found it easy to get the support you need during lockdown?

As well as speaking to my GP, my main tips would be to keep as much from your old routine the same in your new lockdown routine, create projects for yourself to keep your mind occupied. Also, make sure you keep in contact with lots of your friends and family via phone and video calls.

How easy do you think it is for autistic people to have the vaccine especially as they will be visiting busy spaces. Have you any advice?

I would always advise you to see if you can book during less busy times and if possible, visit your local GP for the vaccine instead of one of the larger vaccination centres. Some of my friends who have Asperger’s have found the process very easy and straightforward.

What are your thoughts on changes to health and care services, such as remote GP appointments and how they affect people with autism?

Personally, I think that lots of people with autism are finding remote appointments easier. This is because they can do their appointments from the comfort of their own home, in an environment totally suited to their own needs. Also, they do not have to wait in busy waiting rooms or encounter all of the sensory information you will find in a GP practice.

What has been your main source of happiness during lockdown?

My main source of happiness has been carrying on with my work online. I present lots of talks all about my Asperger’s to companies, law firms, schools and universities. Because lots of the activities I normally do have been cancelled it has actually meant that I have been able to spend more time with some of my friends and family. Every week I arrange to meet them for a walk and I definitely value and appreciate the time I spend with them more than I used to.

Your favourite part of Bristol?

I have been to Bristol a few times before but only to watch football. Therefore, I would have to say that my favourite places are Bristol City and Bristol Rovers.


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