Children with Pre-exising Conditions/Special Needs

As if Covid-19 wasn't harmful enough for regular childrens' mental health...

As if Covid-19 wasn’t harmful enough for childrens’ mental health, it is even more dangerous to the mental health of children with pre-existing conditions (e.g. children previously diagnosed with depression) and special needs (e.g. children with autism spectrum disorder). Children with special needs are especially prone to the negative psychological impacts of catastrophes (such as the pandemic).22

School closures can have significant impact on the lives of those with special needs.22 Children with autism spectrum disorder and neurocognitive disability can become frustrated due to disruptions in their daily routines.22 Their regular support systems, such as therapy, may be interrupted and they are more likely to show problematic behaviors such as irritability, aggression, and social withdrawal.23 A pandemic brings with it a variety of changes; as previously mentioned, all these disruptions may be catastrophic for children with special needs, who rely on the support of and “constants” that are daily routines.

In addition to children with special needs, children with preexisting mental health challenges may feel suffocated and disturbed by news of death and disease around the world, exacerbating their condition and making it harder for them to recover. Case in point, the obsessions and compulsions of a child with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) may get worse during times of stress.5

With all of this in mind, it is critical...,who must also receive the absolute best care as we navigate through these trying times.