Parents of children with autism invited to participate and have their voice heard
The second survey to assess the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on young people with autism and their families has been launched by researchers at DCU.
Led by Dr Sinéad Smyth from DCU’s School of Psychology, the T-Res project includes a three-phase survey looking at the current and long-term impacts of the Covid-19 related restrictions on individuals with autism, measuring the wellbeing of these children and their parents, as well as identifying challenges and resource needs.
Findings from phase one (circulated in July 2020) highlighted:
- A decline in children’s abilities and skills since the introduction of the restrictions.
- Parents reported declines in their child’s ability to self-regulate emotions and in their motivation to engage in activities including school work.
- An increase in some challenging behaviours.
Using this data, the team involved developed an online resource toolkit which is freely available for parents, children, therapists and educators alike to further support individuals in the immediate and long-term future.
The researchers are now calling on parents of children with autism to participate in the second phase of this project, which will help to track the longer term impacts of ongoing Covid-19 related restrictions, as well as changes in support needs.
“Assessing and addressing the wide-ranging psychosocial impacts of Covid-19 restrictions is of paramount importance. As restrictions have fluctuated over the past 10 months, the impacts of these restrictions remain unknown," Dr Smyth said.
"Furthermore, society now must learn to adapt and cope with the return to daily life, frequently referred to as the ‘new normal’. We feel this is an opportunity for parents and children to have their voices heard.”
T-Res (Autism Specific Transition Resources) has been funded by the Health Research Board and supported under the umbrella of DCU’s Covid-19 Research and Innovation Hub. For further information about the project, visit www.autism-toolkit.ie.