When Parents of Children with Severe Autism Become Their Teachers: Unique Cases from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sydney Bueno, Ph.D.
Uzeyir Ogurlu, Ph.D.
Lisa Bardon, Ph.D.
Nikki Logan, Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point


Parents of school-aged children experienced an increased responsibility in their child’s education when the COVID-19 pandemic shut schools in March 2020. The sudden school closure was very difficult for students with autism, who need predictability and routine in their daily life. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of parents of children with severe autism during the school closure and uncover recommendations to improve distance education for students with autism. The participating parents in this study reported difficulty in adjusting to the abrupt disruption in routine during the COVID-19 pandemic. All parents reported trying a variety of strategies to support their student’s learning during distance education. They all expressed feelings of stress during distance learning and conveyed appreciation for their child’s teacher.  

Keywords: Autism, COVID, parents, the school closures, case study 

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