Fäldt AE, Klint F, Warner G, Sarkadi A
BMJ Paediatr Open 6 (1) - [2022-04-00; online 2022-09-03]
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities has been described as a 'triple jeopardy'. Not only have they experienced the negative social impacts of disease control measures, but access to required health services has been affected, and, not least, they are at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. This study aimed to determine how children with disabilities have experienced the pandemic in Sweden and its impact on their lives. Six children (5-13 years) were interviewed via video conferencing. An interview guide was adapted based on the children's communicative abilities and included augmentative and alternative communication support. Reflective field notes were included in the analysis. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Two themes were identified: The child's knowledge of Corona raises anxiety and fear; and Boring Corona makes the child even lonelier. The children had knowledge about and were worried about COVID-19, primarily about illness and death of their grandparents. The children longed for their grandparents and other social contacts at school, and life was described as boring and lonely. Many families lacked adequate tools to communicate with their children about the pandemic. Given adequate support, children with disabilities and communication difficulties can give insights to their unique life situations. The interviewed children reported significant impact on their life and school life. Children were worried about their grandparents based on their knowledge about the virus. The enthusiasm with which the children engaged in the interviews is testament to the need and right of all children, regardless of communicative competence, to voice their experiences.