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1.
J Clin Neurosci ; 95: 27-30, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536920

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since February 2020, many governments of the world ordered strict social distancing rules to try to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, with a reported consequent increase in levels of stress, anxiety and depression in the general population. Aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of the aforementioned psychiatric symptoms across a sample of individuals with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (HF-ASDs) with respect to a group of neurotypical adults (NA), during the first two months of COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. METHOD: 45 adults with HF-ASDs and 45NA completed a structured online questionnaire, including; the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale - 21 items (DASS-21); the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R); the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). We also explored some specific aspects of participants' psychological well-being through an ad-hoc questionnaire. RESULTS: Subjects with HF-ASDs scored significantly higher than NA at the DASS-21, the IES-R Total Score and the PSS; NA reported a higher perceived change of their lifestyle during the lockdown than individuals with HF-ASDs, and subjects with HF-ASDs reported to feel more comfortable and less tired during the lockdown period, in relation to the social distancing measures adopted by Italian authorities. CONCLUSIONS: Adults with HF-ASDs presented higher rates of depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD-related symptoms than NA during the first two months of COVID-19 pandemic. However, they also reported to feel subjectively more comfortable and less tired during the lockdown than before, in relation to the social distancing measures.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Adult , Anxiety/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Depression/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology
2.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21342, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493216

ABSTRACT

Community-wide lockdowns in response to COVID-19 influenced many families, but the developmental cascade for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be especially detrimental. Our objective was to evaluate behavioral patterns of risk and resilience for children with ASD across parent-report assessments before (from November 2019 to February 2020), during (March 2020 to May 2020), and after (June 2020 to November 2020) an extended COVID-19 lockdown. In 2020, our study Mobile-based care for children with ASD using remote experience sampling method (mCARE) was inactive data collection before COVID-19 emerged as a health crisis in Bangladesh. Here we deployed "Cohort Studies", where we had in total 300 children with ASD (150 test group and 150 control group) to collect behavioral data. Our data collection continued through an extended COVID-19 lockdown and captured parent reports of 30 different behavioral parameters (e.g., self-injurious behaviors, aggression, sleep problems, daily living skills, and communication) across 150 children with ASD (test group). Based on the children's condition, 4-6 behavioral parameters were assessed through the study. A total of 56,290 behavioral data points was collected (an average of 152.19 per week) from parent cell phones using the mCARE platform. Children and their families were exposed to an extended COVID-19 lockdown. The main outcomes used for this study were generated from parent reports child behaviors within the mCARE platform. Behaviors included of child social skills, communication use, problematic behaviors, sensory sensitivities, daily living, and play. COVID-19 lockdowns for children with autism and their families are not universally negative but supports in the areas of "Problematic Behavior" could serve to mitigate future risk.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder/psychology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cell Phone Use , Child Behavior/psychology , Child Care/methods , Quarantine/psychology , SARS-CoV-2 , Activities of Daily Living , Aggression , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Bangladesh/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Communication , Female , Humans , Male , Self-Injurious Behavior/psychology , Sleep , Social Skills
3.
Res Dev Disabil ; 119: 104090, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492572

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Previous research has established an association between changes to the daily routine of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and increase in maladaptive behaviours. The relationship between maladaptive behaviours in autistic individuals and increase in care burden among their caregivers is also well established. However, no study has yet examined these associations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main aim of this study was to explore the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on autistic individuals and their caregivers. METHODS: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study conducted with the caregivers of 58 autistic individuals across the mental health services at Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar. The extent of care burden was measured using the Care Burden Interview, whereas changes in behaviour in autistic individuals was assessed using the Revised Overt Aggression Scale. RESULTS: A total of 58 caregivers participated in the study. Out of these, 24 (41 %) reported a clinically significant increase in their care burden. Among caregivers reporting an increase in care burden, two-third were caring for individuals whose behaviour either remained unchanged or improved during social restrictions. Nine autistic people (15.5 %) were reported to have no aggression prior to the implementation of COVID-19 social restrictions compared to 13 (22.4%) individuals during COVID-19 social restrictions. Minimal, mild and moderate aggression were reported in 27 (46.6 %), 21 (36.2 %), and 1 (1.7 %) patients respectively, before COVID-19 social restrictions compared to 29 (50 %), 15 (25.9), and 1 (1.7 %) during COVID-19 restrictions. Severe aggression was not reported in any patient either before or during COVID-19 social restrictions. CONCLUSION: This study showed reduced levels of aggression in autistic individuals but an increase in care burden among their caregivers during the COVID-19 social restrictions highlighting the need of supporting patients and caregivers alike.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Caregivers , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Qatar , SARS-CoV-2
4.
BMJ Open ; 11(10): e053737, 2021 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476609

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: There are numerous reports on the psychological burden of medical workers after the COVID-19 outbreak; however, no study has examined the influence of developmental characteristics on the mental health of medical workers. The objective of this study was to examine whether the developmental characteristics of medical workers are associated with anxiety and depression after the COVID-19 outbreak. DESIGN: We conducted an online cross-sectional questionnaire survey in October 2020. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: The data of 640 medical workers were analysed. The questionnaire included items on sociodemographic data, changes in their life after the COVID-19 outbreak and symptoms of depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) traits and autism spectrum disorder traits. MAIN OUTCOMES: Depression symptoms were assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and anxiety symptoms were assessed by the Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to test the effects of developmental characteristics on depression and anxiety symptoms after controlling for sociodemographic factors and changes in participants' lives after the COVID-19 outbreak. RESULTS: Increases in physical and psychological burden were observed in 49.1% and 78.3% of the subjects, respectively. The results of a multiple regression analysis showed that ADHD traits were significantly associated with both depression (ß=0.390, p<0.001) and anxiety (ß=0.426, p<0.001). Autistic traits were significantly associated with depression (ß=0.069, p<0.05) but not anxiety. Increased physical and psychological burden, being female, medical workers other than physicians and nurses, fear of COVID-19 and experience of discrimination were also significantly associated with both depression and anxiety. CONCLUSION: Globally, the burden on medical workers increased. This study suggested that medical workers with higher ADHD traits may need special attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity , Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Anxiety/epidemiology , Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , China , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Internet , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
5.
Neuropharmacology ; 201: 108841, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466809

ABSTRACT

A strong association between perinatal viral infections and neurodevelopmental disorders has been established. Both the direct contact of the virus with the developing brain and the strong maternal immune response originated by viral infections can impair proper neurodevelopment. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the highly-infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is currently responsible for a large global outbreak and is a major public health issue. While initial studies focused on the viral impact on the respiratory system, increasing evidence suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infects other organs and tissues including the mature brain. While studies continue to determine the neuropathology associated to COVID-19, the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection to the developing brain remain largely unexplored. The present review discusses evidence suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 infection may have persistent effects on the course of pregnancy and on brain development. Studies have shown that several proinflammatory mediators which are increased in the SARS-CoV-2-associated cytokine storm, are also modified in other viral infections known to increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. In this sense, further studies should assess the genuine effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy and delivery along with an extended follow-up of the offspring, including neurocognitive, neuroimaging, and electrophysiological examination. It also remains to be determined whether and by which mechanisms SARS-CoV-2 intrauterine and early life infection could lead to an increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism (ASD) and schizophrenia (SZ), in the offspring.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/epidemiology , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/epidemiology , Schizophrenia/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/immunology , Brain/embryology , Brain/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Female , Humans , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/immunology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology , Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/immunology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Schizophrenia/immunology
6.
Autism Res ; 14(11): 2454-2470, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441943

ABSTRACT

Children with ASD receive a multitude of educational, medical, and therapeutic services. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of these services came to a complete halt following strict lockdowns. Many services have resumed in a hybrid format using face to face and virtual modes of delivery. This study describes findings from the COVID-19 impact survey administered at the onset of the pandemic in a subgroup of families from the SPARK cohort (N = 6393), one of the largest ASD cohorts in the US. The differential early impact of COVID-19 on various subgroups of children with ASD and their families was examined. Caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD between 19 months and 18 years completed an online survey inquiring about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on access to services, parent concerns about the same, impact on child's ASD-related behaviors, child, and parent mental health, and the benefits/potential benefits of online/future online services. Analysis revealed that certain demographic (age, income/SES) and child-related factors (repetitive behaviors, language, functional, cognitive, and motor impairments, and child's understanding), as well as parent's past mental health were associated with/predicted greater service disruptions, greater ASD-related behaviors, and greater negative impact on parent mental health. In conclusion, younger children, children from low-income families, and children with greater impairment severity (more severe repetitive behaviors, language, cognitive, function, language, and motor impairments) were more negatively impacted by the pandemic through service disruptions, increased ASD-related behaviors, parent health/family impact, and found online interactions to be less beneficial. LAY SUMMARY: The SPARK study impact survey shows that at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents reported significant service disruptions, negative impact on their child's ASD-related behaviors as well as their own mental health; which was greater in families with younger children, children with greater ASD severity, and children from low-income families. Majority of families did not report significant benefits of online services whereas some families did. Low-income families were hopeful about receiving benefits through future online services. Overall, these findings have important implications for future clinical care delivery and healthcare policies to ensure that healthcare services are not interrupted during a potential resurgence of COVID-19 or other pandemics. A combination of in-person and online healthcare and family support services must be implemented to prevent negative health impacts in the future.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics , Parents , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Autism Res ; 14(11): 2251-2259, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432360

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges for families and caregivers, as well as for autism-focused clinicians, who are faced with providing a thorough and accurate evaluation of children's specific needs and diagnoses in the absence of in-person assessment tools. The shift to telehealth assessments has challenged clinicians to reconsider approaches and assumptions that underlie the diagnostic assessment process, and to adopt new ways of individualizing standard assessments according to family and child needs. Mandates for physical distancing have uncovered deficiencies in diagnostic practices for suspected autism and have illuminated biases that have posed obstacles preventing children and families from receiving the services that they truly need. This Commentary outlines several considerations for improving diagnostic practices as we move forward from the current pandemic and continue to strive to build an adaptable, sustainable, equitable, and family-centered system of care. LAY SUMMARY: Physical distancing and the abrupt end to in-person services for many children on the autism spectrum has forced clinicians to examine the existing challenges with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnostic assessment and consider things they want to keep and things that should be changed in the years ahead. New approaches such as telehealth both alleviated and exacerbated existing disparities, and brought into stark focus the importance of equitable and timely access to family-centered care. This commentary suggests ways of improving clinical practices related to ASD assessment to continue along this path.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , Autistic Disorder , COVID-19 , Autism Spectrum Disorder/diagnosis , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Int J Clin Pract ; 75(11): e14742, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367315

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 home confinement on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms and irritability in children and adolescents with ASD. METHOD: The study participants included 46 drug-naive children aged 4-17 years diagnosed with ASD. Parents of the participants completed the Autism Behaviour Checklist (AuBC) and Affective Reactivity Index (ARI) scales for both normal conditions and COVID-19 home confinement. RESULTS: All subscale scores for AuBC (sensory, relating, body and object use, language, and social and self-help) and ARI scores significantly increased during the COVID-19 home confinement period (P < .05). The participants' irritability and ASD symptoms were significantly worse during the COVID-19 outbreak and home confinement period compared to normal conditions. The variables that predicted irritability were the social and self-help subscales of AuBC. DISCUSSION: These results have alerted us of the importance of focusing on the symptoms such as irritability exhibited by extremely vulnerable populations during disease outbreaks and of the necessity of developing new strategies to avoid such adverse outcomes in similar situations.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , Autistic Disorder , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Autism Spectrum Disorder/complications , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Humans , Irritable Mood , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(16)2021 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354960

ABSTRACT

The public health lockdown prompted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which included school closures that may have potentially serious consequences for people with disabilities or special educational needs, disrupted an ongoing adapted judo training intervention in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The purpose of this study was to compare repetitive behaviours, social interaction, social communication, emotional responses, cognitive style and maladaptive speech scores across four time-points: baseline, after an eight-week control period, after an eight-week judo intervention and after an eight-week lockdown period due to COVID-19. The sample consisted of 11 children diagnosed with ASD according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (DSM-V), with an intelligence quotient (IQ) range between 60 and 70. Significant improvements were shown following the judo intervention period compared to the baseline and control periods. However, the same values significantly declined during the COVID-19 lockdown period resulting in values lower than those recorded at baseline, and following the control period and the judo intervention. The decline in psychosocial and behavioural scores are likely due to the stress caused by the sudden halt in activity and the increase in sedentary practices associated with the lockdown.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Martial Arts , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/therapy , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Autism Res ; 14(10): 2183-2188, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1344962

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic may disproportionately impact parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Loss of services and supports, heightened fears about increased infection rates, and disruption of daily routines likely adversely affect the well-being of children with ASD and their families. The goal of this study was to examine differences in psychological distress-as defined by symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and hyperarousal-between parents raising a child with ASD and parents in the US as a whole during the early stages of the pandemic (March-April 2020). Parents raising a child with ASD (n = 3556) were recruited through SPARK, a national ASD research registry, whereas a representative sample of parents in the US (n = 5506) were recruited from the Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel. All data were captured via online surveys. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regressions examined psychological distress at the item and summary score level. Parents of children with ASD reported higher levels of overall psychological distress (48% vs. 25%; aOR = 1.60, 95% CI: 1.32, 1.84, p < 0.001). Hyperarousal, or feelings of panic when thinking about COVID-19, was particularly prevalent among parents of children with ASD compared to parents in the US (25% vs. 9%; aOR = 2.38, 95% CI: 1.83, 3.07, p < 0.001). Findings highlight the importance of considering the policies and practices that contribute to poor mental health in parents, particularly those raising a child with ASD, to ensure mental health services remain accessible. LAY SUMMARY: This study examined the mental health of parents raising a child with ASD during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results demonstrated substantially higher levels of psychological distress, particularly those related to feelings of panic, among parents raising a child with ASD when compared to parents in the US as a whole. These data suggest the need for ensuring mental health services are accessible to parents, particularly those raising a child with ASD, during and after the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Psychological Distress , Autism Spectrum Disorder/complications , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Caregivers , Child , Humans , Pandemics , Parents , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress, Psychological/complications , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology
11.
Autism Res ; 14(10): 2113-2119, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298464

ABSTRACT

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at elevated risk for psychiatric problems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This risk is due to their high rates of pre-pandemic psychiatric comorbidities and the pandemic's disruption to routines and access to necessary supports. Prior research has indicated that children with ASD may experience a worsening of specific psychiatric symptoms in response to COVID-19, though this body of work is limited in scope. The present study expands this literature by examining specific types of psychiatric problems that emerged about 2 months after the onset of the pandemic, and risk factors predicting changes in these psychiatric symptoms. Parents of children with a confirmed ASD diagnosis (N = 257), who enrolled in a clinic registry at an outpatient specialty autism center, were included in this study. All data were gathered online via customized and standardized questionnaires. Results showed that 59% of children experienced either a worsening of their pre-pandemic psychiatric diagnoses and/or the development of new psychiatric symptoms during the pandemic. Multivariable regression models indicated that risk factors for increased psychiatric problems included child understanding of COVID-19, COVID-19 illness in the family, low family income, and elevated parental depression and anxiety symptoms (all p < 0.05). Findings from this study emphasize the urgent need to provide effective and accessible psychiatric services for children with ASD and their families during and after the pandemic. LAY SUMMARY: Children with ASD are at high risk for psychiatric problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that 59% of children in our clinical sample are experiencing increased psychiatric problems. The child's understanding of COVID-19, COVID-19 illness in the family, low family income, and depression and anxiety symptoms in the parent increase the risk for poor mental health during the pandemic. These findings indicate the importance of helping children with ASD access mental health treatment during COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Autism Spectrum Disorder/complications , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Humans , Pandemics , Parents , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Autism ; 25(8): 2400-2411, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255867

ABSTRACT

LAY ABSTRACT: Families of children with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to experience financial strain and resulting food insecurity due to additional cost of care, disparate access to needed services, and loss of income resulting from parental job loss. Utilizing nationally representative data, this analysis indicates that the families of children with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring intellectual disabilities are twice as likely to experience food insecurity than families of children without disabilities after adjusting for various factors. Several factors, ranging from state-level policies such as Medicaid expansion to individual-level factors such as higher utilization of emergency room services, were associated with the higher prevalence of food insecurity in families of children with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring intellectual disabilities. Implications of these findings on programs and policies supporting families in the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Intellectual Disability , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Child Health , Food Insecurity , Humans , Intellectual Disability/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
14.
Res Dev Disabil ; 115: 104002, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253564

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is lacking. AIMS: This study investigates the relationship between COVID-19 and behaviors of children with ASD living in the United States. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Parents and caregivers (n = 200) across the United States, as proxies for children 2-17 years of age with ASD, participated in an online survey querying changes in overall behavior and 15 specific behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of a moderate-to-large impact on the child's overall behavior with household income level and food security status. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: A majority of respondents reported a moderate-to-large impact on the child's overall behavior (74 %) due to COVID-19. Several specific behaviors were also affected. Stratifying by income level and food security status revealed disparities in the impact on overall behavior and most specific behaviors. Compared to a household income ≥$100 K, an income <$50 K was associated with an increased risk of moderate-to-large impact on the child's overall behavior (odds ratio (OR): 4.07, 95 % CI: 1.60, 10.38). Food insecurity also significantly impacted this risk, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors (OR: 3.31, 95 % CI: 1.13, 9.66). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Our findings show a large proportion of caregivers reporting moderate-to-large changes post-COVID-19 in the behaviors of U.S. children with ASD, particularly in families with low income and/or food insecurity. This study highlights the effects of existing disparities on children with ASD and their families during this unprecedented time.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Food Security , Food Supply , Humans , Income , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
15.
Autism Res ; 14(7): 1496-1511, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206750

ABSTRACT

In the wake of COVID-19, the world has become a more uncertain environment-a breeding ground for stress and anxiety, especially for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study examined stress, anxiety, and coping in a data-driven, real-time assessment of 122 youth with and without ASD and their parents at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown and three-months later. Standardized measures were administered to ascertain stress and coping explicitly related to the pandemic (RSQ COVID-19-Child [self-report], Adult [self-report from the guardian of youth], Parent [report about child]) and anxiety (STAI-C, STAI-A). Multivariate, univariate analyses of variance and hierarchical regression were used. ASD youth endorsed more Trait anxiety and response to specific stressors (e.g., virus). Caregivers of youth with ASD (Adults) self-reported higher anxiety, yet scores were elevated for both groups. Adults of youth with ASD reported more stress, especially related to the virus, access to healthcare, and concern for the future. In the TD group, youth and adults used more Primary and Secondary Control Coping whereas ASD youth and adults used more Disengagement Coping. Adult stress was the primary predictor of parent perception of child stress as well as Child self-reported stress. While the ASD group was consistently high compared to the TD group, there were no significant changes over time for stress or anxiety. Results reveal striking differences in youth with ASD and their parents regarding stress, anxiety, and coping. Findings highlight the need for essential support, access to services, and strategies to enhance psychological and emotional well-being. LAY SUMMARY: This study examined stress, anxiety, and coping related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 61 youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 61 youth with typical development (TD) and their parents. Results showed that ASD youth reported more anxiety and stress. Adults of youth with ASD indicated higher self-reported anxiety and stress than adults of TD youth. TD youth and their parents reported using more adaptive coping strategies. Findings highlight the need for strategies to enhance psychological and emotional well-being.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , Autistic Disorder , COVID-19 , Adaptation, Psychological , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/complications , Autism Spectrum Disorder/complications , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Parents , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Autism ; 25(7): 2140-2145, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1181065

ABSTRACT

LAY ABSTRACT: This study used data collected from 275 adults in the United States with autism spectrum disorder both before the pandemic and then 10 weeks into the pandemic to assess COVID-19-related distress and its impact. Two-thirds of those surveyed reported some type of distress related to the pandemic (i.e. difficulty coping or negative impact on emotional and mental health). While there were no changes in depressive and anxiety symptoms from prior to COVID-19 to 10 week later in the group as a whole, self-reported distress predicted increases in both anxiety and depression across the two timepoints. Furthermore, adults with higher levels of anxiety prior to the pandemic were more likely to report distress, and women were more likely to report a negative impact of the pandemic on their emotional and mental health. Findings highlight the importance of monitoring with adults with autism spectrum disorder to assess their need for mental health support, and providing ongoing support to those who already experience anxiety even before the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Adult , Anxiety/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
17.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(7)2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167570

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to caregivers of children. Families with children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are an understudied but potentially vulnerable population to changes during the outbreak. As such, the aim of this study was to contrast quality of life for caregivers of children with ADHD and/or ASD, before and during the pandemic, compared to caregivers of neurotypical (NT) children. Total, Parent Health-Related Quality of Life, and Family Functioning Summary Scores from the Family Impact Module of the Pediatric Quality of Life InventoryTM were contrasted among caregivers of children with ADHD, ASD, comorbid ADHD and ASD, and NT development. For all scores, caregivers of ADHD and/or ASD children reported lower quality of life, both before and during the pandemic, in comparison to caregivers of NT children. For all diagnoses, quality of life decreased during the pandemic, but caregivers of children with ADHD and/or ASD reported a greater decrease in quality of life than caregivers for NT children. There are limitations to this study in terms of the composition of the sample and the survey methodology, but we are able to conclude that caregivers of children with ADHD and/or ASD have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and it is imperative that these families receive additional resources and support to improve their quality of life.


Subject(s)
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity , Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Caregivers , Child , Humans , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(6)2021 03 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1134161

ABSTRACT

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition of the central nervous system (CNS) that presents with severe communication problems, impairment of social interactions, and stereotypic behaviours. Emerging studies indicate possible associations between viral infections and neurodegenerative and neurobehavioural conditions including autism. Viral infection during critical periods of early in utero neurodevelopment may lead to increased risk of autism in the offspring. This review is aimed at highlighting the association between viral infections, including viruses similar to COVID-19, and the aetiology of autism. A literature search was conducted using Pubmed, Ovid/Medline, and Google Scholar database. Relevant search terms included "rubella and autism", "cytomegalovirus and autism", "influenza virus and autism", "Zika virus and autism", "COVID-19 and autism". Based on the search terms, a total of 141 articles were obtained and studies on infants or children with congenital or perinatal viral infection and autistic behaviour were evaluated. The possible mechanisms by which viral infections could lead to autism include direct teratogenic effects and indirect effects of inflammation or maternal immune activation on the developing brain. Brain imaging studies have shown that the ensuing immune response from these viral infections could lead to disruption of the development of brain regions and structures. Hence, long-term follow up is necessary for infants whose mothers report an inflammatory event due to viral infection at any time during pregnancy to monitor for signs of autism. Research into the role of viral infection in the development of ASD may be one avenue of improving ASD outcomes in the future. Early screening and diagnosis to detect, and maybe even prevent ASD are essential to reduce the burden of this condition.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , Autistic Disorder , COVID-19 , Virus Diseases , Zika Virus Infection , Zika Virus , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Autism Spectrum Disorder/etiology , Autistic Disorder/epidemiology , Autistic Disorder/etiology , Child , Female , Humans , Infant , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Diseases/epidemiology
19.
Neurol Sci ; 42(5): 1675-1678, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1103469

ABSTRACT

AIM AND METHODS: Cross-sectional data from 118 Chilean children with ASD collected during the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 were evaluated to analyze predictors of behavioral problem impairment. RESULTS: Forty-five percent of parents stated that their children's behavioral difficulties increased in intensity or frequency. The adjusted predictors were having a family member hospitalized with COVID-19 (OR = 4.11; 95% CI = 1.53-11.1) and parents' mental health disorders during the pandemic (OR = 2.43; 95% CI = 1.01-5.83). CONCLUSION: Potentially modifiable psychosocial factors affecting children's behavior should be considered in a possible second outbreak.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , COVID-19 , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Parents , SARS-CoV-2
20.
J Psychiatr Res ; 137: 73-80, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1096127

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Containment, involving separation and restriction of movement of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigation, also referred to as lockdown, involving closure of schools, universities and public venues, has had a profound impact on people's lives globally. The study focuses on the effects of containment and mitigation measures, on the behavior of children and youth (CaY) with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The study primary aim was to examine the impact of these urgent measures on the behaviors, communication, sleep, and nutritional status of the CaY. A secondary aim was to explore risk and protective factors on behavior change including sociodemographic variables, living conditions, ASD symptom severity and continuity of interventions. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 239 ASD subjects, 2-21 years of age, enrolled in the ELENA cohort in France at Stage 3 confinement and mitigation measures announced on March 16, 2020. A parent informant completed the COVID-19 questionnaire. RESULTS: Of the domains examined, challenging behaviors, communicative skills and sleep had the greatest impact; in terms of risk and protective factors, subject age, ASD severity, single parenthood, daily living skills, and intervention continuity were most likely to impact behaviors; living conditions were not linked to behavior change. CONCLUSIONS: The findings highlight the topography of behavioral change in CaY with ASD following institution of containment and mitigation measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and help identify risk and protective factors to help better address needs and tailor interventions in the future.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Pandemics , Adolescent , Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , France/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Physical Distancing , Young Adult
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