Novel Coronavirus Resources

Every day there is new information coming out about the novel (new) coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Some of this information is science-based and factual, while some is rumor or fiction. When looking for information, it is best to be careful and to check your sources. The following is a list of reputable sources for information on a local, national, and global level.

Share this page with your colleagues, friends and family as it will continue to be updated with new highlights as they become available.

Indiana

The IN.gov Coronavirus Hub contains links to current press releases from Governor Holcomb, as well as a dashboard containing a county-level breakdown of the number of cases, deaths, and tests being counted in Indiana.

  • from IN.gov: “General questions from the public or healthcare provider inquiries about COVID-19 may be directed to the ISDH COVID-19 Call Center at the toll-free number: 877-826-0011 (8 a.m. to midnight, daily)” 

Be Well Indiana: “This site is an initiative of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA). All external links have been provided by and vetted by DMHA leadership.Information on this website is up to date and subject to change.”

Be Well Crisis Hotline (Indiana 2-1-1): “Counselors and resources now available 24/7 at Indiana 211 – The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration today announced the launch of the Be Well Crisis Helpline, a confidential resource available through Indiana 211 that will allow Hoosiers to call and speak with a trained counselor 24/7. The free Be Well Crisis Helpline was established by FSSA’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction in direct response to the elevated levels of stress and anxiety Hoosiers are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

United States

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) has a Coronavirus page which branches out into guidance for different situations and answers questions about staying safe and healthy.

The World

The World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic page is compiling information about the disease from across the globe to better understand the situation.

Medical Journals & Articles

Resources for Individuals with ASD and More

Seniors with ASD

What information is available on how to support seniors with ASD?

Currently, not much information is available on how to support seniors with ASD. However, we know that age and severity of autism are tightly linked, where the severity of autism tends to grow with age across such situations as social communication, coping with change or generating new ideas or solutions (Charlton, 2016). But here are some resources:

Online Safety

What are some considerations for online safety?

  • Individuals with ASD are just as interested, if not more, in the Internet than their peers due to the access to information and as a means for social communication (Autism Speaks, 2011; Benford & Standen, 2009). Online communication also helps reduce discomfort and anxiety faced by individual with ASD (Bagatell, 2010).
  • Individuals who have difficulty learning or have a disability are 16% more likely to be persistently cyberbullied over a long period of time (Department of Children, Schools and Families, 2008).
  • Individuals with ASDs are more likely to develop compulsive Internet usage than
    individuals without ASDs (Finkenauer et al., 2012).

Source: https://ed-psych.utah.edu/school-psych/_documents/grants/autism-training-grant/Internet-Safety.pdf

Teens and Screens: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Additional Resources:

Law Enforcement and First-Responder Considerations

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How to Inform Police and/or First Responders that an Individual Has Autism Spectrum Disorder?

There is a strong chance that individuals with ASD may encounter police in their lives. Statistics shows that:

  • Individuals with ASD are 7 times more likely to intersect with the criminal justice system, either as victims or offenders (Berryessa, 2014).
  • 19.5% of youth with ASD have been stopped and questioned by police by the time they reached their early 20s. Of them, nearly 5% were subsequently arrested (Rava, Shattuck, Rast, & Roux, 2017).
  • Yet, the prevalence of actual unlawful behavior of individuals with ASD is relatively low (Woodbury-Smith & Dein, 2014).
  • Socio-emotional challenges present in ASD do not allow individuals to have an intent to purposefully harm another person (Berryessa, 2014; Freckelton, 2013; Woodbury-Smith & Dein, 2014).
  • Presence of co-morbid psychiatric disorders can be a strong underlying reason for offensive behaviors.
  • 20% of children with autism have been physically or sexually abused. However, justice personnel is not sufficiently ready to interact and advocate for these victims (Mandell et al., 2005)

Individuals with ASD have higher risks of victimization due to the nature of autism and the social environment, namely:

  • Reduced privacy
  • Lack of experience with decision-making
  • Lack of education about sexuality
  • Reduced expectations
  • Rewards for rule-following
  • Limited socialization
  • Negative attitude of others towards disability (Autism Speaks, n.d.)

Call 911 in case of emergency!

Visit CRISIS page for more information on the hotlines to report abuse.

Steps that you can take:

  1. Build awareness in the community and among police and first responders that an individual has ASD and therefore may not respond in an expected way.
  2. If possible, contact your community’s 911 office to let them know that there is an individual with ASD living in this community.
  3. Teach individuals about inappropriate touching and how to avoid it in public.
  4. Police are often being called at school for behavioral issues of older individuals with ASD. Be sure to address the issue in the child’s IEP as a protection. Also, help educate school resource officers on what to do (see example tag from HANDS in Autism® below.)
  5. HANDS in Autism® developed a number of resources to help inform the police and first responders (see examples below). Go to HANDSinAutism.IUPUI.edu for more information.

This Individual has Autism
Card to share with community members or during outbursts in public places:

I Have Autism Spectrum Disorder card for first responders
Wallet card to present to police or first responders:

Strategies that work
Strategies that Work

Alert Magnet for first responders with information about individuals that live in the house
Include this magnet in your home to help first responders

People with ASD may: Card
Here is an example of a card with ideas of what a security officer might expect.

Additional Resources

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Elopement and Wandering

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Wandering and Elopement in Autism

What to Do, when an Individual with ASD Tends to Wander/Elope or Lack Sense of Danger?

It is common for individuals with ASD to wander (or elope) away from home or parent/caregiver supervision, putting them at risk of dangerous or traumatic situations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately one half of all children and youth with ASD have been reported to wander from home, school, or other environments. Challenges with communication, social interaction, attention, and learning can complicate a wandering situation, as individuals with ASD may not be able to find their way home (or even desire to return home) or recognize that they may be in an unsafe situation.

It is important that families watch an individual’s behavior to avoid wandering and have an emergency plan in place in the event that the individual does wander. Simple strategies such as

  • locking doors and windows may prevent wandering, especially in younger children
  • wearing an identification bracelet or temporary tattoo listing their emergency contact information in case individuals with ASD are found to be wandering by law enforcement officers
  • alerting neighbors, family members, and local first responders that an individual has a tendency to wander is also a helpful step in reducing the safety risks associated with wandering.

Check out a list of safety items created by Autism Speaks

Another safety concern for individuals with ASD centers on their sometimes increased tolerance for pain and limited (or lack of) sense of danger. In the event that an individual with ASD is in a crisis situation and/or has an injury, he or she may not recognize that they are hurt or be able to effectively communicate pain to a first responder. Strategies such as visual supports can assist with the social-communication challenges of individuals with ASD in crisis situations.

Indiana University School of Medicine Safety Store contains a number of products and materials related to youth safety, including ASD-specific kits and tools that may be of use to families of individuals with ASD.

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What Steps Should I Take if a Dependent Family Member with ASD Leaves the Home without Supervision?

When a dependent family member with ASD leaves the home without supervision, it is essential to act quickly. If your child leaves home without supervision, call 911 immediately.  Make sure to inform the 911 operator the child’s name, your relationship to the child, contact phone numbers, and your location.  If you are able to recall when the child was first noticed missing, and the clothing that he or she was wearing, share that information too.  Request an Amber Alert be issued or an endangered missing advisory.  Contact the person you have designated as your emergency Key Person (ask them to contact friends to help search and make arrangements for the care of any of your other children while you search).  Write down any instructions the 911 operator tells you. Do not hang up until they say it is OK to do so.  If your child is attracted to water, IMMEDIATELY ask them to check nearby water sources such as lakes, ponds, pools, etc. When law enforcement officials arrive, give them all the information on your Alert for Missing Child with Autism form, located on the Big Red Safety Toolkit  If your child is attracted to water, IMMEDIATELY ask them to check nearby water sources such as lakes, ponds, pools, etc.

You can take proactive measures that make it more difficult for your child to elope from the home unsupervised:

  • Keep your home secure, and all doors and windows locked
  • Consider installing an alarm so you’re aware of doors or windows being open or shut
  • Equip your home with visuals that your child can utilize as cues to stay inside, examples may include a STOP sign on a door or window.
  • If you live near water, consider installing a fence.
  • Notify neighbors if your child is a chronic eloper so they are aware and can take action if they spot your child in the neighborhood unsupervised.

When eloping from the home has occurred in the past, or is a frequent occurrence, you may want to consider purchasing a tracking device.  These range in type of device and price, and can be extremely helpful to families and first responders should your child leave the home unsupervised.  There are many grants and programs that sponsor a free or cost-reduction for a tracking device.  Contact your local fire or police department to inquire about their participation in these programs.

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