How parents of children with autism spectrum disorder experience the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives and insights on the new normal

Res Dev Disabil. 2022 May:124:104200. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2022.104200. Epub 2022 Feb 14.

Abstract

Background: Considering the fact that family members necessarily spend more time together during the pandemic, this study aims to reveal the perceptions of parents with children who have autism spectrum disorder of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey and their experiences of the difficulties during the pandemic.

Method: A qualitative phenomenology design was used in the study. Seven mothers and one father gave their consent and participated in the study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using content analysis.

Results: The results of the analysis were collected in two broad themes using 68 codes. The perspective of the parents, who evaluated the pandemic process positively in the beginning, became negative as lockdown lengthened. The issues and adverse effects of the pandemic that they most talked about were the increasing roles and responsibilities of parents, the deep impact on their mental health, and the problems experienced in distance education.

Conclusions: During this period, parents who were psychologically depressed wanted to feel that they were not alone. Parents made many suggestions and recommendations so that others would not have the same experience.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; COVID-19 pandemic; Coronavirus outbreak; Learners with special needs; Parenting.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / psychology
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Parents / psychology