COVID time capsule: Learning from Covid-related experiences of children with disabilities and their parents to improve health supports and services
What’s the issue? Children with disabilities and their families have been uniquely affected by measures that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Children’s therapies and medical services were often reduced, changed to virtual delivery, or cancelled altogether; when schools closed children lost access to many supports; and many children lost opportunities to interact with others and to participate in physical activities. All of this has taken a great toll on the health and well-being of children and families. As we plan health services in the post-Covid period, we need to i) address the challenges that children and families have faced during Covid; and ii) use the resources developed during Covid (e.g., technology) to improve the lives of children and families. In this study we want to learn about children and parents’ experiences at the time of COVID-19, to understand: What services did children and families miss out on because of COVID? What issues were made worse by Covid? What supports and services do children and parents need and want, now and into the future? What needs to be done in order to improve health services for children and families after Covid? Methods: Our research team is made up of 4 researchers, 5 parents and 5 youth, who will all work together throughout the study. 30 youth ages 8-21 and 30 parents/caregivers will be invited to participate in the following activities: 1)Youth will complete: i) a short survey; ii) a visual “Covid time capsule” where they will draw or paste images that speak to their experiences in different areas of life; and iii) an interview 2) Parents will complete: i) a questionnaire; ii) an interview What are we going to do with this information? We will develop and make available different materials for parents, youth, and service providers: infographics; tip sheets; podcasts; cartoon; video; and #DisabilityAfterCovid campaign on social media.