The association between home learning during COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequent school attendance among children with neurodevelopmental conditions

Athanasia Kouroupa*, Amanda Allard, Kylie Gray, Richard P. Hastings, David Heyne, Glenn A. Melvin, Bruce Tonge, Vasiliki Totsika

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Children with neurodevelopmental conditions have high levels of school absence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed for many students. The relationship between home learning during school closures and subsequent school attendance requires attention to better understand the impact of pandemic education policy decisions on this population. This study aims to investigate the association between home learning, hybrid learning and school learning during school closures (in January–March 2021) with subsequent school attendance (in May 2021) in children with neurodevelopmental conditions. Methods: An online survey was completed by 809 parents/carers of 5- to 15-year-old autistic children and/or children with intellectual disability. Regression models examined the association of learning location during school closures with subsequent school absence (i.e., total days missed, persistent absence and school refusal). Results: Children who were learning from home during school closures later missed 4.6 days of a possible 19. Children in hybrid and school learning missed 2.4 and 1.6 school days, respectively. The rates of school absence and persistent absence were significantly higher in the home learning group even after adjusting for confounders. Learning location was not associated with subsequent school refusal. Conclusions: Policies for school closures and learning from home during public health emergencies may exacerbate school attendance problems in this group of vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-851
Number of pages6
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Volume49
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • autism
  • home learning
  • intellectual disability
  • school attendance

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