Dear Spectrum News 1,
We are responding to your recent article, Face Masks Create New Challenges for People with Autism or Sensory Disorders. We thank you for sharing important information about strategies that families can use to keep themselves and their loved ones safe during COVID-19. Mask wearing is one important preventative strategy. Individuals diagnosed with autism may each respond uniquely to wearing a mask. While some individuals may love the masks, others may have great difficulty learning to tolerate and wear them.
Scientific research published in peer-review journals has routinely recognized the importance of individualizing interventions for children with autism. Learning to tolerate and wear a mask is one such skill that can be taught using a variety of individualized and person-centered strategies. We were pleased to read about the steps that board certified behavior analyst Kristin Toruno used to helped her son Connor, a young person with autism, learn this important life skill. Your article also highlights the different ways that professionals can work collaboratively with families to provide safe, effective, and individualized support to children with autism, even during a pandemic.
Our mission at the Association for Science in Autism Treatment is to promote treatments that are safe and effective. In a vast sea of marketed interventions for autism treatment, we applaud you for promoting the use of evidence-based practices for teaching individuals to wear masks. Your readers may also be interested in our recently published article on Coping with COVID-19, in which we showcase some of our previously published work that bears particular relevance at this time.
Carolina Arguello, BA
Dr Erin Leif, PhD, BCBA-D
Association for Science in Autism Treatment