The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the abrupt transition from attending school face-to-face to participating in online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reported by a parent of a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Design/methodology/approachA phone interview was conducted with the parent of a child with ASD. The semi-structured interview focused on how the child’s family was impacted when classes shifted to virtual from face-to-face learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.FindingsA total of four themes emerged from the interview. Three of these included adjustments to changes in routines and roles, instruction, and social interactions. A final theme involved the benefits and challenges that emerged following the transition to online learning for students with ASD. While we are in an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 global pandemic presenting understandable challenges, opportunities for and examples of effective virtual learning environments for students with ASD were reported in the parent interview and supported by the literature.Practical implicationsThis research provides insight regarding the impact of COVID-19 and highlights elements that should be considered involving technology for students with ASD. Increased awareness regarding the benefits and contraindications of technology while teaching students with ASD can minimize the adverse effects and enhance the positive impact of technology in students with ASD.Originality/valueThis paper shares the experiences of one parent of a child with ASD and their experiences with technology and learning during COVID-19.
Journal of Enabling Technologies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 28, 2021
Keywords: Technology; autism spectrum disorder; pandemic; COVID-19; learning environments; online education of students with disabilities