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Purpose of the article: This study explores the impact of the lockdown imposed during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children with developmental disabilities (DD) and the emotional experiences of their parents. Methods: A total of 81 Romanian parents (90% mothers, Mage = 39.3, SDage = 8.50) of children with DD participated in this cross-sectional study. Information regarding changes in lifestyle, health conditions, and psychosocial reactions of their children during the lockdown as well as measures adopted for compliance to preventive strategies and in dealing with emotions, was gathered. Results: The results of the study revealed that most of the children had restricted access to leisure activities, family doctor consultations, were less active physically, got fewer opportunities to socialise with their peers, had restricted access to rehabilitation therapies, and specialised medical services. Compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures is challenging for children with DD. Results also provided evidence of parents’ emotional distress and negative changes in the lives of children with DD, the inability to adopt COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, and negative emotional states experienced by their parents. Conclusions and recommendations:The results highlight the need for authorities and specialists to plan and implement appropriate intervention procedures, to address the outlined issues, to meet the challenges brought forth by the ongoing crisis.
Keywords: COVID-19; developmental disabilities; parents of children with disabilities
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