The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children With Special Needs: A Descriptive Study

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2022 Feb;61(2):141-149. doi: 10.1177/00099228211050223. Epub 2021 Oct 12.


Amid the COVID-19 crisis, children with special needs may have challenges. To determine emotional and behavioral challenges, 116 children aged 4 to 6 years, who received special education, were evaluated. COVID-19 negatively affected the families at a rate of 94.6%; 76.5% of the children's daily routines were worsened. Although the one-on-one time duration with the mother and father increased (73.5% and 66.7%), reading books (40.6%), play (17.2%), and overall activity durations (25.7%) decreased. The median screen time increased from 1 to 3 hours. According to the families, there was a regression in development in 18.8% of children. Special education practices at home were ceased by 17.2% of families, and a significant difference was found between the groups with and without regression in development in terms of the frequency of continuing special education at home. The development of children with special needs is an ongoing urgent situation; thus, besides protecting and promoting physical health during the pandemic, families and children should also be supported for developmental needs.

Keywords: SARS CoV-2; autism spectrum disorder; challenges; global development delay; hearing impairment; language delay.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disabled Children / psychology
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation
  • Disabled Children / statistics & numerical data*
  • Education, Special / methods
  • Education, Special / standards*
  • Education, Special / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quarantine / methods
  • Quarantine / psychology
  • Quarantine / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey / epidemiology