Clinical Psychology

Road to Recovery

Understanding the impact of COVID and recovery phases on children and young people with Intellectual Disabilities and their families

Intellectual disabilities (ID) are characterised by social, and cognitive difficulties that are often associated with challenging behaviours.  Challenging behaviours indicate levels of severe mental stress and distress reactions in those with intellectual disabilities. Increased levels of mental health issues have been reported in children and young people with ID and their caregivers.  The COVID-19 response strategy entailed limiting access to education, respite care, and specialist services, therefore reducing the available support for families, with unknown consequences.

The relative vulnerability of children with ID was highlighted by a recent report by the Children's Society (2020) which indicated that children with ID are more susceptible to wellbeing and mental health issues as a result of COVID and require urgent support in adapting to routine changes and understanding what is going on. These routine changes and reduction in access to services will continue for some time despite the implementation of the UK wide vaccination programme, further compounding mental health outcomes in children with ID and their parents.

As we move into COVID transition phase, the current project will:

  1. identify the family structure and social demographics of families who have a child with ID who are at greater risk of parent and child negative mental health outcomes;
  2. explore the lived experiences of children and young people with ID and their caregivers during COVID and transition phases
  3. understand children and young people's and parents' experiences of the recovery phase, including the lasting effects of COVID.


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