The COVID-19 Pandemic Experience for Families of Young Children with Autism

Ban Haidar, Hedda Meadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined caregivers' lived experiences during the initial weeks of stay-at-home mandates within the unique socio-cultural and healthcare context of the United States.To learn about the experiences of caregivers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted seventeen semi-structured interviewswith caregivers of young children with autism (ages 3–8) in Illinois.The inability to meet demands, the abrupt loss of social and therapeutic support, and the loss of opportunities for leisure and self-care took an emotional toll on the caregivers and the families. Although four caregivers attributed positive changes in their lives to the lockdown (e.g., more family time and improved academic standing for their child), the reported negative impacts overshadowed the positives. To foster resilience and reduce the adverse long-term effects of world-changing events on families of young children with autism, the information gleaned from this study can inform educators, service providers, and other concerned parties about unique considerations when creating future proactive and responsive support measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Autism
  • COVID-19
  • Families
  • Pandemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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