This study examined how people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families across the world have been coping with the administrative, financial and social changes they likely experienced in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we were interested in the stresses that they had faced and the coping and emotion regulation strategies they have employed. By Special Education Needs, we refer to people who need support with their condition which includes (but is not limited to) Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability (not-otherwise specified), Williams Syndrome, and other rare genetic diseases.

The goal of this study was to find out what people with different SEND have found particularly difficult and how different individuals, families, groups, and governments have gone about dealing with and alleviating those difficulties. We hope not only to document their situation but also to gain further insight into how to prepare families with a child with SEND as well as the support system around them for future periods of crisis.

This study, carried out in the unique context of the COVID-19 epidemic, is part of an international collaboration with partners in over 30 countries (see Who we are).

The survey (which was available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese simplified, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Persian, Portugais BZ, Portugais PT, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish) has been registered on OSF:

  • Van Herwegen, J., Dukes, D., & Samson, A. (2020, April 9). COVID19 Crisis Response Survey for families of Individuals with Special Needs.
    Retrieved from DOI:10.17605/OSF.IO/5NKQ9

Who we are  Research Output


Read the article on the study results:

in french  in german

Dauer des Projekts

01.04.2020 - 31.12.2021


Prof. Dr. Andrea Samson
Prof. Dr. Andrea Samson Ausserordentliche Professorin und SNF-Förderungsprofessur am Departement für Sonderpädagogik der Universität Freiburg und Leiterin des chEERS Lab
Dr Jo van Herwegen
Dr Jo van Herwegen Institute of Education, UCL, London