Parents' perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 and school transition on autistic children's friendships

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LAY ABSTRACT: Research shows that moving schools can be a challenging time for autistic children and young people. One factor that has been found to support successful transition is friendships. However, there is little research exploring how transition between schools affects autistic children's friendships, and even less on how children's relationships during transition have been impacted by COVID-19. Fourteen parents of autistic children and young people were interviewed about their child's move to a new school and the impact they felt this had on their friendships. Parents described how moving with existing friends helped some children to find the transition less challenging. Others had differing experiences, with their children's friendships playing a much smaller role in the move. Differences were also seen with regard to the impact of COVID-19, with some parents speaking of how hard being away from friends was for their child, while others found the social restrictions a welcome break from interacting with peers. The study highlights how different the experiences of autistic individuals, and their parents, can be and the importance of a child-centred approach to transition support.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Early online date6 Sept 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sept 2022

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