The outcomes from the Covid-19 outbreak were challenging for everyone, from children, adolescents, adults to elderly people. However, although for most of us it was a very challenging period, the pandemic was particularly hard for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other mental disorders and their families (Dekker, 2022).
The educational environment of the children and the young adults has significantly changed as a result of the pandemic by causing closure of schools, kindergartens, and day care centers. The closure of the schools has caused children and youth to have more need for parent support more than ever (Unicef Eastern Caribbean, 2022). Many parents of youth with disabilities have lost the daily support from the educational institutions which has doubtlessly caused pressure on them. During the pandemic the role of the parents has notably changed because of the need for having to provide ongoing care especially for the parents of youth with ASD and other mental health disorders. The pandemic had long-term negative impacts not just on the adolescents with ASD and other mental health disorders but on the parents as well by experiencing stress and increased demands due to Covid-19 and pandemic related lockdown measures. In the meantime, parents during the pandemic needed to act simultaneously as teachers, caregivers, and therapists (Unicef, 2022; Lee V et al., 2021).
Additionally, to all these difficulties, the parents of adolescents living with ASD and other mental health disorders have experienced economic hardships and income cuts which are also linked with the Covid-19 crisis (Esteban et al., 2021) especially because of the need to meet their youth’s educational, care or even therapeutic needs at home (Meral, 2021). The economic difficulties were especially noticed in the post-pandemic period, by causing challenges and struggles for a lot of families in order to meet the basic needs at home. The consequences of the crisis caused significant economic hardships especially for the parents of adults with ASD and other mental health disorders (Beweja, Brown, Edwards & Murray, 2021).
Overall, the findings illustrated that the parents of youth with ASD and other mental health disorders have a need of support services, provision of care and educational support and training programs as well (Alhuzimi, 2021). The educational and social institutions should find a way how to help parents of youth living with ASD and other mental health disorders not just with the provision of care and educational support but also with financial maintenance in order to meet their needs which have significantly changed consequently as a result of the pandemic.
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Alhuzimi, T. (1970, January 1). Stress and emotional wellbeing of parents due to change in routine for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at home during COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia. Res Dev Disabil. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://pesquisa.bvsalud.org/global-literature-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/resource/pt/covidwho-949718
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Dekker, L. Hoojiman L., Louwerse A., et al., (2022). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and their families: a mixed-methods study protocol . BMJ Open. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/12/1
Lee, V., Albaum, C., Tablon Modica, P., Ahmad, F., Gorter, J. W., Khanlou, N., McMorris, C., Lai, J., Harrison, C., Hedley, T., Johnston, P., Putterman, C., Spoelstra, M., & Weiss, J. A. (2021, December). The impact of covid-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of caregivers of Autistic Children and youth: A scoping review. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8646541/
Meral, B. F. (2021, May 15). Parental views of families of children with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic – journal of autism and developmental disorders. SpringerLink. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-021-05070-0
Unicef. (2022). Support for parents of children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF global. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.unicef.org/northmacedonia/support-parents-children-disabilities-during-covid-19-pandemic
UNICEF Eastern Caribbean. (2022). 6 ways parents can support their kids through the coronavirus disease (covid-19) outbreak.). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.unicef.org/easterncaribbean/6-ways-parents-can-support-their-kids-through-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak