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Child Development and Learning Difficulties



How Families with Children with Special Needs are coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lockdown January-April 2021

By Admin, on 15 August 2021


This project is part of a larger study that examines anxiety and concerns of children with special needs and their parents during the pandemic.

We first examined the anxiety and wellbeing of families of individuals with SEND, including the parent’s, the individual with SEND and the anxiety and wellbeing of any typically developing sibling, if they had one in May-July 2020.

In January 2021 a new lockdown was announced in the UK as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In order to examine how families coped with the continued impact of the pandemic and another lockdown, a survey was distributed to parents of individuals with Special Educational Needs (SEND) in the UK.

Between January- April 2021, 153 families of individuals with SEND aged 2-60 years old in UK completed the survey, including also 135 typically developing siblings.




Parents reported that their children with SEND as well as typically developing siblings continued to experience high levels of anxiety, despite having more access to schools and support


Most families had access to green space

Parents reported that they found it hard to cope with the continued pandemic



Most families reported to be keen for their child with SEND to receive the vaccine

Suggestions from findings:


  • Despite the access to schools and green space, anxiety in children with SEND and their typically developing siblings remained high during lockdown January-April 2021. Seeing that restrictions have now been lifted it would be interesting to see how children with SEND and their siblings recover from this anxiety.
  • Parents found it harder to cope with the new lockdown compared to lockdown before, our fine-grained analysis will show why and what support they need.
  • The majority of parents is keen for their child to be vaccinated. However, government guidelines for children with SEND have not yet been announced.


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