Is My Child with Autism Required to Wear a Mask?

June 17, 2020

With many places and spaces reopened with a mask requirement, many are understandably concerned that this requirement may limit full participation and inclusion in the community, school, and other indoor facilities and spaces. We offer some suggestions and resources to help individuals with autism with wearing a face mask. However, we recognize that teaching this skill may not be easy and wearing a face mask simply may not be possible.

This begs the question: “Is my child with autism required to wear a mask in public?”

The Governor’s Executive Order does allow for exemptions for medical reasons:

“Where an individual declines to wear a face covering on store premises due to a medical condition that inhibits such usage, neither the essential retail business nor its staff shall require the individual to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.”

We understand the desire for public businesses (retail, salons, etc.) to comply with requirements and the safety benefits of doing so. We are also sensitive to the challenges families experience in explaining why compliance with wearing a face mask is not feasible due to their child’s autism.

While not required, families should be prepared to address the issue in a proactive way. Consider calling an establishment before visiting to clarify the exception.


Experience Our Power of Connection

Autism New Jersey will continue to follow recommendations from the CDC and state Department of Health as the state begins to move through the stages of reopening.

We’re proud to say that not one call to our Helpline has gone unanswered. If you need assistance, call us at 800.4.AUTISM or information@autismnj.org or send us a message/chat with us via the link at the bottom of this page.

We remain focused on our mission to be a resource for the autism community. We recognize that there are many questions and complex considerations, and we are working hard to address these substantial issues and provide our expertise and stakeholder perspectives as plans are developed. We encourage you to regularly visit our central hub of coronavirus resources for the autism community.