Reflections of the COVID-19 pandemic on health problems of children with special needs

DOST A., KAYA Ş., Kurucay R., Sezen B., Akinci M., SUNAL N.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, vol.37, no.1, 2024 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jcap.12446
  • Journal Name: Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EBSCO Education Source, ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: children with special needs, COVID-19, health problems, mental health
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: This research aimed to examine changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in activities of daily living and health status of children with special needs. Method: The current descriptive and comparative study was carried out with 82 students studying at a special education practice school that provided daytime education to children with special needs before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Personal Information Form, the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living, and the Omaha System Problem Classification Scheme were employed as data collection tools in the research. Results: The 10 most common problems during the COVID-19 pandemic were stated as cognition (86.6%), mental health (75.6%), speech and language (85.4%), interpersonal relationships (79.3%), personal care (79.3%), social contact (64.6%), growth and development (63.4%), neighborhood/workplace safety (58.5%), communication with community resources (57.3%), and caretaking/parenting (n = 47, 57.3%). The incidence of “cognition,” “speech and language,” “neighborhood/workplace safety,” “communication with community resources,” and “caretaking/parenting” problems of children with special needs was significantly higher during the pandemic than before the pandemic (p < 0.05; p < 0.001). Conclusion: The current research emphasized the significant impacts on the health of children with physical and mental disabilities and loss of opportunity, as their education was considerably interrupted during the quarantine. During a pandemic, the regular evaluation of health benefits/risks is essential to ensure the continuity of medical follow-up, rehabilitation, education, and support mechanisms for children with disabilities.