Disability Liaison Officers making COVID-19 vaccinations easier for people with autism

Disability Liaison Officer Christy shares how she helped brothers James and Lincoln get the COVID-19 vaccine

With crowds and loud noises, large COVID-19 vaccination centres are sometimes not suitable for people with autism.

This was the case for brothers James, 20, and Lincoln, 18, when they wanted to be vaccinated. To help with the vaccination process their mother Anne enlisted the help of their Disability Liaison Officer, Christy.

Both James and Lincoln have different personalities and different requirements, making getting the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre tricky for them.

After a chat with the family, Christy provided advice tailored specifically for each brother, meaning they could be vaccinated comfortably at a venue and time that suited their needs.

Christy found that a standard appointment at a mass vaccination wouldn't work for James as there would be a queue with too many people and the noise would be overstimulating.

She chatted with the family's nearest vaccination centre in Box Hill to see if they could help. The centre staff were happy to accommodate James by booking an appointment during the lunch break when it was quiet and he could avoid queueing.

Anne said the staff were fabulous, arranging a more spacious cubicle for James, a private space with only the nurse and him present during the vaccination.

Christy met Anne and James at the centre on the day, making sure they were checked in and ensuring the appointment ran smoothly.

Lincoln was unable to be vaccinated in a mass vaccination centre even with adjustments. After chatting with Lincoln, Christy found he had a great relationship with his GP and felt comfortable at the family clinic, making it an ideal place for him to be vaccinated.

Anne said Christy's support in developing different approaches for each of the brothers was a great help.

'Everyone is different and has different needs for getting vaccinated,' Anne explained.

'If your family needs support to get vaccinated, the best thing you can do is contact a Disability Liaison Officer.'

Find out more

If you or a family member needs help finding a suitable location for a COVID-19 vaccination, contact your Disability Liaison Officer for advice and support.

You can contact a Disability Liaison Officer by:

For COVID-19 vaccination resources, including vaccination social scripts, needle phobia resources, and how to access support, visit the Amaze Community Information hub or contact the Autism Connect national autism helpline by phone on 1300 308 699.