COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences in the Necessities, Education and Mental Health of Children and Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Puerto Rico

COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences in the Necessities, Education and Mental Health of Children and Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Puerto Rico

Ninotchka Román-Hernández (a)*, Walter Rodríguez-Irizarri (a,b), Simón Carlo-Torres (a,c), Rafael Oliveras-Rentas (a), and Ernesto Rosario-Hernández (a)

ABSTRACT

Objective: This study’s purpose was to investigate significant differences in the (1) necessities, (2) caregiver’s attitudes towards education and (3) mental health of chil- dren and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disabilities (CAND) in Puerto Rico (PR) during COVID-19, based on their age group and disorder-type.

Method: A quantitative-comparative research study was designed. Data was ob- tained from surveying 612 caregivers of CAND living in PR. Nonparametric statistics were used to research differences in CAND between age groups and disability clas- sifications. For comparing disorders, 339 participants who selected only one disor- der-type in their child were used for the analyses.

Results: Significant differences were found between age groups and disorder-types of CAND in all variables assessed. Infants and preschoolers required more daycare, thera- pies and educational materials, while adolescents and young adults needed more tech- nology and internet. Needs between disorders were mostly associated with their specific condition (ex. more nutritional necessities in eating disorders). Preschoolers, cognitive and language disorders had a harder time adapting to distance education and consider- ably required more homework assistance. Maladaptive behavioral changes were report- ed more notably in preschoolers, while a depressive mood, stress and anxiety were more observed in those ages 6 – 21yrs. Cognitive disorders had the most prevalent increase of psychological and behavioral changes, compared to other disorders.

Conclusion: Substantial differences in the necessities, education and mental health of CAND in PR were confirmed. These findings are of interest to organizations and public policy makers and can be used to create more cost-effective and disability-in- clusive intervention programs to assist these families.

(a) School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce, Puerto Rico
(b) Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, San Germán Campus, San Germán, Puerto Rico.
(c) Ponce Research Institute, Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce, Puerto Rico*

*Address for correspondence:
Ninotchka Román-Hernández, M.S., E-mail: nroman19@stu.psm.edu

Tienes que iniciar sesión o registrarte para poder descargar el pdf del artículo.