HRSA Awardees Study Impact of COVID-19 on Receipt of Services and Parent Mental Health in Children with ASD

December 20, 2021

University of Delaware’s Dr. Anjana Bhat, associate professor in physical therapy, and JP Laurenceau, professor in psychological and brain sciences, have been awarded a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for a new study to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on receipt of behavioral, speech, occupational and physical therapy services and parent mental health in 9,000 children with autism from the SPARK cohort and to determine value derived from these services in an online capacity.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions, younger children, children with higher autism severity or those from low-income families were unable to access or experienced challenges when receiving services. Based on study findings, Dr. Bhat & Laurenceau will make recommendations for improving access to healthcare and services to subgroups that are most negatively impacted by the changing healthcare delivery approaches during the pandemic. Dr. Sylvia Sosa will be the program liaison for this HRSA-funded project.