The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children With Special Educational Needs, and Their Parents

Conference: The Paris Conference on Education (PCE2022)
Title: The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children With Special Educational Needs, and Their Parents
Stream: Mind, Brain & Psychology: Human Emotional & Cognitive Development & Outcomes within Educational Contexts
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Umar Toseeb, University of York, United Kingdom
Kathryn Asbury, University of York, United Kingdom


Children and adolescents with special educational needs and their parents are likely to have been disproportionally affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been little focus on how the mental health of these vulnerable families developed during the pandemic. We asked parents/carers to complete online questionnaires about their own and their child’s mental health at one or more time points between 23rd March 2020 (at the onset of the first lockdown in the UK) and 10th October 2020 (when schools fully reopened for face-to-face teaching). Parents completed standardised questionnaires of their own and their child's mental health. They also provided qualitative responses to open questions. Autistic young people had more depression and anxiety symptoms compared to young people with other SENDs throughout the study period. As lockdown progressed and schools subsequently re-opened for face-to-face teaching anxiety levels decreased for young people with SENDs but not for autistic young people, whose anxiety remained stable throughout. Depression symptoms, however, remained stable for both groups during this period as did parents/carers’ psychological distress and wellbeing. During the talk, findings will be discussed with reference to implications for support as we emerge from the pandemic.

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