Caregivers of Children with Autism: challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown.
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Little is known about the perspectives of caregivers of autistic children with regard to the challenges they have faced during the COVID-19 lockdown. This study examines these challenges by interviewing eight service providers who support caregivers of autistic children in Scotland and England. An explanatory, qualitative approach was utilised to explore the needs of caregivers, as well as the resources and support they have received from these service providers. The semi-structured interviews were conducted through digital means, and recorded, transcribed and analysed using a thematic analytic method. Findings suggest that caregivers faced behavioural challenges from the children, and a lack of respite care, as well as limited resources with which to fully cope with the COVID-19 lockdown. Recommendations from the findings of this study for improving support to caregivers of children with autism include increased coordination between government and service providers, improved financing of service providers, and enhanced technological provision for caregivers, including better training in its use.