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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 64-76

A study on impact of Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic on activities of daily living, play, and sensory behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder: A cross-sectional survey study


1 Department of Child Psychiatry, Institute of Child Health and Government Hospital for Children, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Institute of Community Medicine, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
G Daris Nithya
Department of Child Psychiatry, Institute of Child Health and Government Hospital for Children, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_34_21

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Background: New Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has a greater influence on all of us and has changed many of our everyday routines. Adjusting to a new routine is stressful for everyone, but especially for children with Autism who have difficulty with change, it is more stressful. As, insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, and ritualistic patterns are the core features of autism, environmental changes, home confinement, disrupted daily routines, restricted access to schools, therapy centers during this pandemic will have a unique impact on children with Autism and their families. Objectives: The objective of this study was to systematically assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on activities of daily living (ADL), play, and sensory behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Study Design: Cross-sectional survey study was conducted. Methods: Convenient sampling method was used. The study sample consisted of 100 parents/primary caregivers of children with Autism. A structured ADL, play, sensory behavior questionnaire (45 items) was designed, validated, and administered through face to face and telephonic interviews. The duration of the study was 1 month. Results: Substantial proportion of the parents (69%) reported inconsistent daily routines and inconsistent sleep routines (67%) since the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty-three percent of ASD children spend more time on mobile phones and televisions than interactive play. Home confinement during this pandemic resulted in lower physical activity was mentioned by 69% of ASD parents and 70% mentioned the increased social withdrawal of ASD. Many parents reported increased intensity of vestibular-proprioceptive seeking (75%), other sensory behaviors during this COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusion: The study analysis suggests that COVID-19 pandemic has a major impact on children with ASD on their ADL, play, and sensory behaviors. Ninety nine percent of our study respondents were not able to access therapy centers, and other intervention facilities during this pandemic. Lack of access to these structured environments during this pandemic could have contributed to the worsening of ASD children's behaviors. So, this study stress, access to the health care services that serve ASD children, especially occupational therapy, needs to be considered essential and remain available during these kinds of pandemics with universal precautions and/or via alternative modes of delivery, i.e. tele-consultation.


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