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Experiences of student and trainee autism researchers during the COVID‐19 pandemic
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 15:39 authored by Sowmyashree M. Kaku, Alana J. McVey, Alan H. Gerber, Charlotte M. Pretzsch, Desiree R. Jones, Fathima M. Kodakkadan, Jiedi Lei, Lauren Singer, Lucy Chitehwe, Rebecca E. Poulsen, Marika Coffman
Circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in significant personal and professional adjustments. Students and trainees, including those in autism research, face unique challenges to accomplishing their training and career goals during this unprecedented time. In this commentary, we, as members of the International Society for Autism Research Student and Trainee Committee, describe our personal experiences, which may or may not align with those of other students and trainees. Our experiences have varied both in terms of the ease (or lack thereof) with which we adapted and the degree to which we were supported in the transition to online research and clinical practice. We faced and continue to adjust to uncertainties about future training and academic positions, for which opportunities have been in decline and have subsequently negatively impacted our mental health. Students and trainees' prospects have been particularly impacted compared to more established researchers and faculty. In addition to the challenges we have faced, however, there have also been unexpected benefits in our training during the pandemic, which we describe here. We have learned new coping strategies which, we believe, have served us well. The overarching goal of this commentary is to describe these experiences and strategies in the hope that they will benefit the autism research community moving forward. Here, we provide a set of recommendations for faculty, especially mentors, to support students and trainees as well as strategies for students and trainees to bolster their self-advocacy, both of which we see as crucial for our future careers.
Publication titleAutism Research
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons