The impact of lockdown on people with autism

29th April 2021

Coronavirus took hold last year and affected the lives of people with autism. Cut off from their friends and social groups, it left many feeling stranded – affecting their daily routines and hindering their friendships.

We spoke to Love4Life manager Hayley, who told us how after months in isolation, Love4Life members are finding it difficult to talk to people, they are struggling to start or maintain conversations, which is leaving them feeling more lonely and isolated.

Hayley has also shared where people with autism can go for information and advice and how Love4Life has supported members during the pandemic.

Love4Life is a friendship and dating project run by FitzRoy for adults with learning disabilities and autism. During the pandemic, we moved all Love4Life events online – meaning our members still had more than 50 events a month to choose from!

However, Hayley says she still has seen the effects lockdown has had on members. She said: “Lockdown has been completely detrimental for people with autism.

“This is largely down to the change in routine – which is inconvenient for anyone, but for those with autism it can be too much to cope with. And online zoom events aren’t always fully effective, as connection issues and static sounds can be stressful.”

Love4Life member Grace said: “I was shocked at first. I felt depressed during lockdown as I couldn’t go to see my friends and family. I also couldn’t have a meal out or go to the cinema and theatre. I do things like watch films, go out for a walk or do hobbies to feel occupied, and that makes me feel better.

“I have my vaccine now though, and I am really looking forward to going back to the normal Love4Life events – especially performing arts as that is one of my favourites.”

Despite lockdown, Hayley and her team have seen some incredible things happen, as they have been  teaching life skills, including communication and conversations workshops. This has enabled members to be able to communicate online with one another which has been a lifeline for many.

Love4Life has been a lifeline for many of our members.

Hayley said: “We are so proud of how our members have adapted to the change, we know how hard this can be. During the pandemic, Love4Life has been a lifeline for our members. We have continued to help people learn new skills in their own homes. Cooking has been really popular, which has meant people have explored new recipes they may have not tried before and have gained the confidence to try their own recipes too.

“If you have autism and you’re struggling, you can find loads of great resources online, and if you live in Hampshire come and join Love4Life!”