Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children with ASD and Their Families: An Online Survey in China
Authors Huang S, Sun T, Zhu Y, Song S, Zhang J, Huang L, Chen Q, Peng G, Zhao D, Yu H, Jing J
Received 4 December 2020
Accepted for publication 19 January 2021
Published 4 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 289—297
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman
Saijun Huang1,2 *,* Tao Sun1,2 *,* Yanna Zhu,3 Shanshan Song,1,2 Jie Zhang,4 Linjuan Huang,5 Qiang Chen,6 Guangyang Peng,7 Dongmei Zhao,8 Hong Yu,1,2 Jin Jing3
1Department of Child Healthcare, Affiliated Foshan Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital, Southern Medical University, Foshan, Guangdong, 528000, People’s Republic of China; 2The Second School of Clinical Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510280, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangdong, Guangzhou, 510080, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Child Healthcare, Xi’an Children’s Hospital, Xi’an, Shaanxi, 710003, People’s Republic of China; 5Health Management Center, Fuzhou Children’s Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian, 350005, People’s Republic of China; 6Department of Child Psychological Health, Zhuhai Women and Children’s Hospital, Zhuhai, Guangdong, 519001, People’s Republic of China; 7 Department of Child Rehabilitation, Huanggang Ping’an Rehabilitation Hospital, Huanggang, Hubei, 438000, People’s Republic of China; 8Department of Child Healthcare, Jinan Children’s Hospital, Jinan, Shandong, 250022, People’s Republic of China
*These authors contributed equally to this work
Correspondence: Hong Yu; Jin Jing Email [email protected]; [email protected]
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown will have short-term and long-term psychosocial and mental health implications for children. Children with autism may have some specific needs for support because of their difficulties in social communication, stereotyped behavior patterns, and other specificities brought about by autism.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ASD children and their families.
Patients and Methods: A total of 406 parents of ASD children completed an online survey investigating basic information; sleep, outdoor activities, and rehabilitation training; ASD children’s frequency of abnormal behaviors; and stress and emotional status of parents.
Results: 50.3% of the parents thought their children had sleep problems, and 47.3% of the parents thought their children’s outdoor activity time was reduced. About 40% of parents think that their children have improved cognitive ability, language expression, and understanding. 36.2% of the families reported that their children’s emotional and social performance became worse. 60.8% of parents reported that their children’s training intensity decreased. The most common abnormal behaviors observed in children with ASD were being easily distracted, losing temper, and crying. 81.3% of parents did not have anxiety, but 98% of parents reported that family training was under pressure.
Conclusion: The main impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with ASD is that they do not have access to professional rehabilitation training. These families need more medical support, especially in family training, to help parents improve the social and emotional control skills of ASD children.
Keywords: COVID-19, ASD, child, behavior, rehabilitation training, China
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