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Empowering Practitioners: Implementing Post-COVID Research to Enhance Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

Empowering Practitioners: Implementing Post-COVID Research to Enhance Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted children with disabilities and their families, presenting both challenges and unexpected benefits. According to the research article titled What supports and services post COVID-19 do children with disabilities and their parents need and want, now and into the future?, understanding these impacts can help practitioners enhance their service delivery. Here, we summarize key findings from the study and provide actionable insights for practitioners.

Key Findings from the Research

The study, conducted between January and July 2023, used qualitative methods to explore the experiences of 18 Canadian children with disabilities and their parents during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers identified several themes regarding the needs of these families:

Flexibility in Services

The research highlights the need for flexible programs that can adapt to individual circumstances. For instance, virtual learning was beneficial for some children, allowing them to excel in a less distracting environment. However, a one-size-fits-all approach often fails to meet the diverse needs of children with disabilities.

Consistency and Reliability in Social Connections

Children and parents emphasized the importance of maintaining consistent relationships with peers, teachers, therapists, and care workers. High turnover rates in support staff can disrupt these vital connections, impacting the child's emotional and social well-being.

Comprehensive and Family-Centered Support

Families expressed the need for holistic support that considers the entire family unit. This includes coordinated care across different sectors like healthcare, education, and social services. Parents often find themselves juggling multiple roles, from therapists to care coordinators, which can be overwhelming.

Actionable Insights for Practitioners

Based on these findings, here are some actionable steps that practitioners can take to improve outcomes for children with disabilities:

Encouraging Further Research

While this study provides valuable insights, more research is needed to fully understand the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with disabilities and their families. Practitioners are encouraged to engage in ongoing research and contribute to the growing body of knowledge in this field.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: What supports and services post COVID-19 do children with disabilities and their parents need and want, now and into the future?


Citation: Pozniak, K., Swain, A., Currie, G., Doherty-Kirby, A., Grahovac, D., Lebsack, J., Campbell, W., Humphreys, C., Patterson, S., Raha, S., Whitley, J., & Kraus de Camargo, O. (2024). What supports and services post COVID-19 do children with disabilities and their parents need and want, now and into the future? Frontiers in Public Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC11036871/?report=classic

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