Support for Neurodiverse People in Ukraine
The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) has issued the following statement calling for humanitarian aid for neurodiverse people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
March 16, 2022
In response to recurring conditions across the globe, INSAR stands with all people who need to escape oppressive conditions. We are concerned with families and children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities who are often at greatest risk of endangerment, and this concerns those from all regions of the world. We are concerned with families and children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities who are often at greatest risk of endangerment, and this concerns those from all regions of the world.
Currently, the massive humanitarian crisis as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, is on our minds. Bombings and internal displacement have already threatened the safety and well-being of countless children and their families, and millions of Ukrainian refugees, mostly women, and children have poured into neighboring countries. The world is watching the tragic toll of this military aggression unfold in real-time. We join the global community in calling for an immediate end to this horrific, senseless violence and aggression.
For many displaced Ukrainian families, the trauma of war has been amplified by the challenge of trying to protect the safety and well-being of their children without the usual social and infrastructure support. We are especially concerned for the well-being of our families and their children on the spectrum or with other neurodevelopmental disorders for whom separation from loved ones, as well as from trusted teachers and therapists, destruction of supports and routines, and lack of basic necessities can be particularly devastating. Research has shown that children with neurodevelopmental disorders have increased vulnerability to experiencing trauma and that feelings of horror and helplessness may lead to the development of long-lasting mental and medical health challenges.
We know some of our members are actively engaged in efforts to address the emotional and educational needs of Ukrainian children with autism and supporting their families as they flee to bordering countries. We encourage all INSAR members to consider ways they may help (however small) in these efforts.
This egregious war has activated worldwide efforts to address the vital needs of Ukrainians experiencing acute trauma and facing agonizing uncertainty and fear about their future. The needs are tremendous and urgent.
Below are just a few sources of information about ways you can help. If you decide to help, realize the list below is not exhaustive or endorsed by INSAR. Always perform your own due diligence before donating to any organization. Some organizations allow you to specify that your donation is to be used for Ukrainian relief.
Autism Europe – Support for Autistic People in Ukraine
Autism Science Foundation – Aid Autistic Ukrainian Refugees (custom Amazon US link): Autism specific items can be purchased on Amazon and will be distributed to autism organizations in Poland via B-Strong Foundation.
Contributed by: Katarzyna Chawarska, PhD
Translations coordinated by: Agnieszka Rynkiewicz, MD, MAT, PhD; INSAR Global Senior Leader for Poland
Approved by: INSAR Board of Directors