Challenges for children with autism spectrum disorder on return to in-person learning

Dr. Malia Beckwith on the potential obstacles of a return to in-person learning

We may be in the thick of summer but a lot of parents are already thinking about the transition back to in-person learning for their kids this fall. Health experts say making the switch will likely be more difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder, who faced significant obstacles trying to adapt to virtual school during the pandemic. Skills that took years to learn may have slipped away during the enforced isolation of the pandemic.

Dr. Malia Beckwith, Section Chief for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Children’s Specialized Hospital, explained that a core part of autism spectrum disorder is repetitive behavior, which was disrupted first by the switch to virtual learning last year. “Now as we think about going back in the fall and having in-person school … it’s another change,” she said.

Providing the child with detailed schedules can help with preparation for the transition, Beckwith said.

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