How Has COVID-19 Affected Families With Autism?

DGHI's latest "One Question, One Minute" video features Dr. Lauren Franz, assistant professor of psychiatry and global health

Published December 15, 2020 under Voices of DGHI

Written by Mary Brophy Marcus

Dr. Lauren Franz video

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives in 2020, but it's been particularly challenging for families with individuals who have developmental disorders.

Dr. Lauren Franz, assistant professor of psychiatry and global health at Duke, and a faculty member at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, says families with children with autism spectrum disorder — especially those in low-income settings around the globe — have faced greater struggles.

"Even before the pandemic struck, children impacted by disparities were often among the most marginalized in society, facing increased risk of discrimination in addition to limited access to existing services and supports," Franz says.

Even before the pandemic struck, children impacted by disparities were often among the most marginalized in society, facing increased risk of discrimination in addition to limited access to existing services and supports.

Lauren Franz

Health services, the social protection system and schools — systems children with disabilities rely on — have been disrupted by COVID-19.

From a policy perspective, we should be recognizing the unique pre-existing vulnerabilities of children and families living with disabilities and developing outreach and inclusion efforts to make sure they have the services they need, Franz says.


Check out other "One Question, One Minute" mini videos in our series:

Dr. Osondu Ogbuoji: How will low-income countries distribute COVID-19 vaccines?

Pediatric Oncologist Kristin Schroeder: What have you learned about yourself as a global health professional during the pandemic?

DGHI Interim Director Dennis Clements: How does it feel to start a new academic year at Duke Global Health Institute during a pandemic?