Autistic refugees benefit from new Ukrainian-language resources

Special resources and picture cards have been produced to help Ukrainian refugees with autism.

The National Autistic Society developed the Ukrainian-language resources together with the Polish charity JiM Foundation, which has been busy fielding requests for support from refugees crossing the border into Poland.

The materials are aimed at both autistic refugees and British hosts sponsoring refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Chrystyna Chymera-Holloway, the organisation’s head of marketing, said: “This period is incredibly difficult for all Ukrainians, including autistic people who can experience intense anxiety when faced with unexpected changes and may struggle to adjust to new routines, sights, sounds and smells.

“Our information is designed to help direct them to the right support.”

This support includes information on accessing Special Educational Needs provisions and adult social care. 

Routine is important for a lot of autistic people – familiar places, people, foods – and losing this as a result of war can be especially unsettling for them.

“Autism is not a mental health problem. But many autistic people face mental health problems and those coming from a war zone may also be struggling with their mental health,” said Chrystyna.

Anyone hosting autistic Ukrainians should reach out to local authorities to find out more about services available in your area.

“Try and understand the individual needs of the autistic person, as each person is unique. But be patient as they are in a time of extremely high stress,” Chrystyna told Mancunian Matters. 
Information about autism or resources for Ukrainian refugees can also be found on the National Autism Society’s website.

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