16 Days of Activism – War and the needs of autistic people in Ukraine

Today, the International Day of Persons of Disabilities, we would like to focus our 16 Days of Activism in the situation and needs of autistic people in Ukraine during the war.

The humanitarian response in Ukraine needs to ensure the urgent support of autistic people during the winter, especially people in institutions who might struggle to evacuate.  

The war also brings specific threats for autistic people. The diagnosis of Autism in adults is difficult to access in Ukraine, and this can lead to autistic adults being left out of the humanitarian effort to support disabled people. Developing diagnostic and support networks in crisis situations is essential. Autistic people in a war setting can also struggle with increased sensory overload, rapid and constant changes of routines, decreased healthcare access for co-occurring health conditions, lack of access to alternative communication devices, decreased access to medication and support, and being forced to remain in institutions due to lack of accessibility during evacuation.

You can see our page on how to support autistic people from Ukraine in crisis here.

We call on the European Union and its member states, the United Nations and humanitarian organisations to ensure they include autistic Ukrainians in the development of the responses that are essential to account for their needs.


Today we wish to highlight the presentation given by Kateryna Kravchuk and Valeriia Shapovalova at the Autistic Vision webinar, 11 June 2022. Valeriia Shapovalova is an autistic adult, ADHDer, and founder of the first support group for autistic adults in Ukraine. Kateryna Kravchuk is an autistic adult and ADHDer. She works as neurologist at a local hospital. Valeriia and Kateryna talk about the situation around adult autistics in Ukraine, their needs regarding recognition by professionals and everyday support, and also about how autistic people are affected by the war, based on personal experience.

"Currently I have intense nightmares, a few suicidal thoughts and some other symptoms that indicate I'm in burnout. I live without knowing what will be tomorrow, whether i'll can do something or whether my strength won't be enough to eat. Whether dear to me people will live or whether someone will die. I just hope the victory will come soon and that all this pain will decrease so I'll be able to withstand."
Kateryna Kravchuk