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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Experiences of children and young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions

Veronica Bailie; Mark A. Linden

Published: January 2023   Journal: Disability and Rehabilitation

This paper aims to explore the experiences of children and young people (CYP) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic and lock down restrictions. Semi-structured, online interviews were conducted with 17 children and young people from the UK, Northern Ireland, aged 10–14 years with ADHD. Over half the participants had a co-existing diagnosis, such as autism spectrum disorder. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim before being subjected to thematic analysis.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: pan-Canadian perspectives from parents and caregivers of youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities

Ash Seth; Brittany Finlay; Genevieve Currie (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Health Care
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD) and their families. Although health measures were implemented to contain the COVID-19 virus, they disrupted public service, profoundly impacting youth and their families’ access to services. This study sought to better understand the perspectives and experiences of parents and caregivers of youth with NDD across Canada in accessing services and their mental health needs during the pandemic. The study used a qualitative research design in which 40 parents and caregivers across Canada were interviewed.
Effects of a parenting intervention for emotional and behavioral problems in young autistic children under conditions of enhanced uncertainty: two-year follow-up of a pilot randomized controlled trial cohort (ASTAR) during the United Kingdom COVID-19

Melanie Palmer; Virginia Carter Leno; Victoria Hallett (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Most young autistic children display emotional and behavioral problems (EBPs). There is evidence that behavioral parenting interventions (BPIs) reduce these. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns can be seen as a natural experiment to test the longer-term effect of BPIs under conditions of increased uncertainty. Opportunistic follow-up (n = 49) of a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) cohort (n = 62 autistic children aged 6-11 years; originally randomized to a 12-week group BPI [Predictive Parenting; n = 31] or an attention control [Psychoeducation; n = 31]) was conducted during COVID-19−related lockdowns. Measures of parent-reported child irritability and parenting stress were collected at 3 time points (baseline: mean age = 6.7 years; primary endpoint: mean age = 7.1 years, ∼5 months after randomization; and COVID-19 follow-up: mean age = 8.8 years, ∼2 years after randomization). We tested the magnitude of intervention effects using point estimates of differences in child irritability and parenting stress between arms at primary endpoint and COVID-19 follow-up, covarying for baseline scores. We used area under the curve (AUC) analyses to obtain overall estimates of the average intervention effect across all 3 timepoints. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with a subsample of parents (n = 18).
Autistic young people's experiences of remote psychological interventions during COVID-19

Lucy Adams; Nicoletta Adamo; Matthew J. Hollocks (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Autism
Telepsychiatry has been rapidly adopted to help control the spread of coronavirus. Clinicians have raised concerns over this for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The remote delivery of psychological interventions in particular requires further attention as their in-person delivery has autism spectrum disorder–associated challenges which overlap with the challenges of telepsychiatry broadly (i.e. beyond autism spectrum disorder). Autistic service-users (aged 15–18 years, n = 6) and clinicians working with this client group (n = 8) were therefore interviewed about their experience of remote psychological interventions during the pandemic. The sample size was determined using preregistered thematic saturation calculations. Thematic analysis of responses identified challenges/barriers, benefits, facilitators, and factors perceived to cause variability in experiences of remote delivery.
Distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic for children with ADHD and/or ASD: a European multi-center study examining the role of executive function deficits and age

Lisa B. Thorell; Anselm B. M. Fuermaier; Hanna Christiansen (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

One of the COVID-19 pandemic consequences that has affected families the most is school lockdowns. Some studies have shown that distance learning has been especially challenging for families with a child with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD or ASD. However, previous studies have not taken the heterogeneity of these disorders into account. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate differences between families with a child with ADHD, ASD, or both conditions, and to examine the role of underlying deficits in executive functioning (EF) in both children and parents in relation to negative and positive effects of distance learning. Survey data assessing both negative and positive experiences of distance learning were collected from parents with a child aged 5–19 years in seven Western European countries: the UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium. Altogether, the study included 1010 families with a child with ADHD and/or ASD and an equally large comparison group of families with a child without mental health problems. We included measures of three different types of negative effects (i.e., effects on the child, effects on the parent, and lack of support from school) and positive effects on the family.

Tele-assessment of young children referred for autism spectrum disorder evaluation during COVID-19: associations among clinical characteristics and diagnostic outcome

Rebecca McNally Keehn; Brett Enneking; Liliana Wagner (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Autism
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rapid acceleration of innovative research on health services delivery, including real-world clinical implementation and evaluation of tele-assessment for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Extending this promising work, the present study examined clinical characteristics and diagnostic outcome for young children receiving autism spectrum disorder tele-assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effects of COVID-19 related physical inactivity on motor skills in children with intellectual disability

Parisa Sedaghati; Esmail Balayi; Somayeh Ahmadabadi

Published: December 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

Children with intellectual disabilities (ID) may show declines in motor skills during the Covid-19 restrictions. This study compared the effects of physical inactivity due to COVID-19 on the motor skills of active and inactive children with ID. In this prospective cohort study, 30 boys with ID were divided into two groups based on study inclusion criteria (mean age 10.86 ± 1.81 active, 10.20 ± 1.42 inactive). The BESS test, the Y test, the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, and the Bruininks-Oseretsky test-short form were used.

The parallel pandemic: The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children with neurocognitive impairments

Nechama Sorscher

Published: December 2022   Journal: Psychoanalytic Psychology

The COVID-19 pandemic led to many months of school closures, quarantining, and social isolation for children and their families. This disruption of routine had significant implications for the mental health of children and adolescents, leading to a parallel mental health pandemic among this vulnerable population. While these psychosocial effects were most acute during the initial phase, the ripples of the pandemic continue to be felt during the time of this writing (2022), as we continue to be confronted with the ever-evolving virus and its myriad aftereffects. A review of the literature suggests an increase in depression and anxiety among children and adolescents as a result of the sweeping changes to their environment. Fear of contagion, boredom, loneliness, increased social anxiety, irritability, inattention, and increased disruptive behaviors were all observed. For children with neurocognitive impairments, the impact was even more severe due to a proliferation of factors that will be discussed below. Nonetheless, despite the pandemic’s pointed impact on mental health, some children and adolescents were actually able to thrive and even noted improvements in their social and emotional functioning. This article will examine the specific impact of the pandemic on young learners with the most common types of neurocognitive disorders and provide recommendations for intervention.

Parents' pandemic stress, parental involvement, and family quality of life for children with autism

Shengli Cheng; Sanyin Cheng; Shushan Liu (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health

Research has shown that parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffered high levels of stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and faced poor family quality of life (FQOL). However, little is known about the inherent dynamic interaction between pandemic stress and FQOL, especially in the Chinese cultural context. This study provides preliminary evidence by examining the relationships among pandemic stress, parental involvement, and FQOL for children with autism in mainland China. A total of 709 parents of children with autism completed measures of FQOL, parental involvement, and pandemic stress. Structural equation modeling was employed to examine the interrelations among these variables.

The relationship between nutrition-physical activity behaviors of autistic children with their families and fhildren's obesity levels during Covid pandemic

Cevik Guner U. Umran; Bilkay İrem

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
The family has a key role in the obesity management of children with autism. This study examines the relationship between the nutrition-physical activity behaviors of autistic children with their families and children’s obesity levels during covid-19 pandemic. The descriptive and cross-sectional study involved 80 parents of autistic children. A positive correlation was found between children’s mean BMI values before and during the pandemic(p = 0.000). Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Scale(FNPAS) and Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory(BAMBI) score were 55.18 ± 7.86 and 31.76 ± 8.79, respectively. In addition, it was found that 32.5% of the children ate more than before the pandemic, 50.0% engaged in less physical activity, and 16.3% didn’t do any physical activity. The study results suggesting the risk of obesity.
How COVID-19 phases have impacted psychiatric risk: a retrospective study in an emergency care unit for adolescents

Maria Mucci; Francesca Lenzi; Giulia Maria D’Acunto (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Children
Dramatic events during the COVID-19 pandemic have acutely impacted the psychosocial environment worldwide, with negative implications for mental health, particularly for more vulnerable children and adolescents with severe psychiatric illnesses. Some data suggest that the pandemic waves may have produced different psychopathological consequences, further worsening in the second phase of the pandemic, compared to those in the first lockdown, soon after March 2020. To test the hypothesis of a further worsening of psychiatric consequences of COVID-19 in the second lockdown compared to the first lockdown, we focused our analysis on a consecutive sample of youth referred to a psychiatric emergency unit for acute mental disorders in the time period between March 2019–March 2021. The sample, consisting of 241 subjects (123 males and 118 females, ranging in age from 11 to 17 years), was divided into three groups: Pre-Lockdown Group (PLG, 115 patients); First Lockdown Group (FLG, 65 patients); and Second Lockdown Group (SLG, 61 patients).
Transitioning a research protocol for videosomnography to assess sleep and nighttime caregiving activities in school-aged children with developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jiwon Lee; Patricia C. Clark; Regena Spratling

Published: November 2022   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected children with developmental disabilities (DDs)’ sleep. Videosom[1]nography is a noninvasive, portable time-lapse video recording sys[1]tem to objectively obtain a child’s sleep-wake behaviors and parents’ caregiving activities in a natural environment. From September 2020 to February 2021, a feasibility study was conducted using actigraphy (in mothers) and videosomnogra[1]phy in children with DDs for seven consecutive nights to assess sleep and nighttime caregiving activities. Because of the pandemic, alternative data collection strate[1]gies were developed and implemented, such as delivering a “study package” with easy-to-follow writ[1]ten instructions and emailed video-recorded instructions on recording a child’s sleep.

Psychological stress and parenting styles predict parental involvement for children with intellectual disabilities during the COVID-19

Sanyin Cheng; Meng Deng

Published: November 2022   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
This study explored how psychological stress and parenting styles predicted parental involvement for children with intellectual disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic by adminsitering the Psychological Stress Questionnaire, Parenting Style Index and Parental Involvement Scale to 995 parents of children with intellectual disabilities.
Elective home education of children with neurodevelopmental conditions before and after the COVID-19 pandemic started

Laura Paulauskaite; Amanda Timmerman; Athanasia Kouroupa (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
COVID-19 brought disruptions to children’s education and mental health, and accelerated school de-registration rates. This study investigated Elective Home Education (EHE) in families of children with a neurodevelopmental condition. A total of 158 parents of 5–15 year-old children with neurodevelopmental conditions (80% autistic) provided information on reasons for de-registration, their experience of EHE, and children’s mental health.
Risk and resilience correlates of reading among adolescents with language-based learning disabilities during COVID-19

Rebecca A. Marks; Rachel T. Norton; Laura Mesite (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Reading and Writing
Students with language-based learning disabilities (LBLD) can face elevated socio-emotional well-being challenges in addition to literacy challenges. We examined the prevalence of risk and resilience factors among adolescents with LBLD (N = 93), ages 16–18, and the association with reading performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected at the start and end of the first fully remote academic year of COVID-19 (2020–2021). Participants completed standardized word and text reading measures, as well as self-report surveys of executive functions (EF), and socio-emotional skills associated with resilience (grit, growth mindset, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness) or risk (anxiety, depression, COVID-19 related PTSD, and perceived COVID-19 impact). Survey data at the start of the school year (Time 1) captured three underlying factors associated with socioemotional risk, socioemotional resilience, and regulation (i.e., EF).
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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