Bibi Nazia Murtaza
Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, Pakistan
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: Autism Open Access
Statement of the Problem: Stay at home policy and self-isolation during COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to face mental illnesses. COVID-19 pandemic has affected the families with special need children in Pakistan very badly. Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: A cross-sectional survey was designed and parental response was requested, 423 families having children with special needs, were interviewed through telephonic calls and online questionnaire during August 2020 to Dec 2020. Multivariate analysis showed that majority of the parents of special need children faced multiple challenges, especially when they were not able to keep previous routine and regression in therapies occurred. Lack of parental technical trainings, resources and support system from government worsen the situation. About 75 % of children were not getting proper treatment or therapies as per requirement. COVID-19 quarantine has caused a major hurdle in providing therapies. The most effected individuals in such families were mothers of children with autism and ADHD. Due to less social help and lack of mental health support system, these moms were overburdened. This high levels of stress was linked to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety in these mothers. Conclusion & Significance: Along with other community member the most distressed and special part of society is gravely effected by COVID-19 outbreak. Special need children being struck at home couldn’t not get required care, treatment and therapies. Parents and caregivers had to face major hurdles during COVID-19. The status of mental health in affected mothers is alarming. In order to avoid such type of issues in future, government and mental health organizations have to take major steps for special need community in such types of pandemic.
Bibi Nazia Murtaza, Currently serving as an Assistant Professor in Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, Dr. Bibi Nazia Murtaza is a certified Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule -(ADOS®-2) expert associated with Autism Directions UK. In collaboration with UCL UK, she is woking on a mega project about autism and related neurogenetic disorders in Pakistan. Since COVID19 pandemic occured, she is working on different aspects of mental health in the perspective of special need children in Pakistan.