'This last year has been horrific': How the pandemic changed everything for autistic people

This week marks Autism Awareness Week 2021 and people have been telling us how they've coped during the pandemic. 

While many are excited by the easing of lockdown restrictions today, for the seven hundred thousand people in the UK who have autism, any change can be hard. 

Connor Ward, who lives in Nottingham, says it's been difficult.

He says that all of the things that people have been complaining about during the lockdown, such as the change of routine and uncertainty, "are all things autistic people particularly struggle with on a day to day basis never mind in this lockdown".

Connor told ITV News that any changes to the lockdown restrictions are tricky to navigate.

"Over time I became used to my new routine of not going out and not doing things. The problems then came with the easing of rules."

"There was lots of room for individual interpretation, and people would most definitely take their liberties."

He says autistic people need clear information in order to function.

The pandemic has changed the way everyone lives, but for Saeed Ahmed from Selly Oak, explaining those changes to his 21-year-old son Azhar has been a particular struggle.

Azhar's autism has meant the pandemic has been "really tough" on him and his family, due to a disruption of routine.

"It's really difficult for someone with autism to comprehend," said Saeed.

A report by the National Autistic Society found that the Covid-19 outbreak left many people on the spectrum stranded, with a lot of specialist support and services unavailable.

"The more support they needed day to day, the bigger the impact felt because of coronavirus on things like loneliness and isolation," said Tim Nicholls of the National Autistic Society.

Read more: