COVID-19 (coronavirus) is causing major disruption across the world. It is impacting everyone’s lives, including people on the autism spectrum, people with special needs and their families.
There is limited research about the effects of statewide emergency crises on autistic children and children with special needs.
What have autistic people and people with special needs found difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic?
How can autistic people and people with special needs be supported during crises?
A growing international collaboration of more than 60 researchers is taking part in a project to investigate how autistic people, people with special needs and their families across the world have been coping with the pandemic.
From April to July 2020, an online survey gathered information from more than 6000 families globally about:
- What stresses they faced during the pandemic
- What strategies they used to cope during the crisis.
ARCAP studied the responses of 74 Australian parents of children with special needs, 87% of which were parents of autistic children. We were interested to learn about the anxiety concerns of autistic children, children with special needs and their parents during the pandemic. We were also interested in the coping strategies used by children.
What we learnt
Dr Ru Ying Cai, ARCAP
Prof Andrea Samson, Swiss Distance University Institute & Institute of Special Education, University of Fribourg & Swiss Center for Affective Sciences
Dr Daniel Dukes, Faculty of Psychology, Swiss Distance University Institute & Institute of Special Education, University of Fribourg & Swiss Center for Affective Sciences
Dr Jo Van Herwegen, Institute of Education, University College London, UK