Date Presented 04/21/2023

The purpose of our scoping review is to analyze research findings about positive effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on the occupations of families of autistic children. Common themes and protective factors were named for future use in clinical practice.

Primary Author and Speaker: Svitlana Stremousova

Additional Authors and Speakers: Savannah Gluck

Contributing Authors: Grace T. Baranek, Alison M. Cogan

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 lockdowns have benefited some families of autistic children (Tokatly-Latzer et al., 2021). However, it remains unclear what kind of information is available in the literature. The purpose of our study was to analyze research findings about positive effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on co-occupations of parents and autistic children.

DESIGN: This study used a scoping review methodology, in order to systematically search and analyze current literature (Tricco et al., 2018).

METHOD: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and ERIC databases using the keywords ‘autis*’, ‘coronavirus’, ‘effect’, ‘outcom*’, ‘impact*’. We used inclusion and exclusion criteria related to our research question when selecting articles. After reviewing articles, we identified consistent qualitative themes.

RESULTS: The results included studies from fifteen countries. We found five positive themes within the literature: more time spent together as a family (9), increased engagement in familiar and meaningful occupations together (8), improvement of the family relationships and parent-child relationships (10), improvement of parenting skills and abilities (6), and improvement in mental health for an entire family (4). Identified protective factors include adaptability and self-efficacy of parents of autistic children, effective co-parenting and positive social supports, continuity of education and therapy services, socioeconomic status, presence of other diagnoses and required level of support.

CONCLUSION: This scoping review provides insight on the current research on the positive effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on occupations of families of autistic children. Understanding the positive impacts of the COVID-19 lockdowns on parents and autistic children is important for clinicians, because it provides insight on heterogeneity of familial occupations and caregivers’ strengths that can inform interventions during unprecedented events such as lockdowns.


Tokatly Latzer, I., Leitner, Y., & Karnieli-Miller, O. (2021). Core experiences of parents of children with autism during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Autism, 25(4), 1047-1059.

Tricco, A. C., Lillie, E., Zarin, W., O’Brien, K. K., Colquhoun, H., Levac, D., ... Straus, S. E. (2018). PRISMA extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR): checklist and explanation. Annals of internal medicine, 169(7), 467-473.