Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood ADHD



The initial survey was conducted in May 2020. Community agencies were involved in recruiting parents. Over 600 parents participated.

Key takeaways from the project so far are:

Tasmia Hai
is training to be a school psychologist and is specifically interested in the impact of the pandemic on education and learning.

Rose Swansburg’s research is focused on the lifestyle impact of the pandemic. Data from the first survey showed children who exhibit less healthy lifestyle habits (decreased sleep, exercise) demonstrated poorer mental health functioning (increased ADHD symptoms, depression and anxiety).

The team is currently recruiting parents for a follow-up survey.
The team recently sat down for a conversation with Stacey D. Espinet, CADDRA’s Education Manager. Click here for the video interview


Parental support for children’s learning during the Covid-19 pandemic:

A pan-Canadian study of children and youth with ADHD.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Maria A. Rogers, University of Ottawa

Co-Investigators: Dr. Janet Mah, BC Children’s Hospital; Dr. Emma A. Climie, University of Calgary; Dr. Yuanyuan Jiang, Saint Paul University & University of Alberta; Dr. Penny Corkum, Dalhousie University

Student Investigators: Tessa Ritchie, M.Sc., University of Ottawa & Amanda Krause, M.A., University of Ottawa


What are the main objectives and expected outcomes?

We are surveying parents of children and teens with ADHD from across Canada to understand their experiences supporting their children’s learning during the pandemic. There is tremendous diversity across the country at the moment in terms of how children are learning, so parent involvement has taken on a whole new meaning. We want to understand how parent-child interactions have been affected, about changes in parents’ beliefs, their mental health, and about the impact on interactions with teachers and school staff.

Tell us about the research project team members and their unique contributions to this project.
All of the investigators on this team are both researchers and clinicians, thus we hear first-hand from families about the struggles brought about by this pandemic. We came together because of our shared interests in the learning of children with ADHD, but we also bring complementary areas of expertise to this project. In addition to parental involvement and learning, we will also be examining the role of sleep, physical activity, parental mindset, family strengths, and children’s approaches to learning.

Why did you and the team choose this focus?
Supporting the learning of children with ADHD at home can be a challenge for many parents, but it seems that constant changes in public health and education guidelines are creating new problems for many families of children with ADHD. We know that helping parents is central to helping children, so we want to understand more about the current situations facing families of children with ADHD.

What stage is the project at?
With the help of our student researchers, Tessa and Amanda, we are currently working on revisions in response to our ethics review. We expect to have the survey ready for parents by April 1st.

What impact do you think this project will have?
It looks as though schooling will continue to be altered into 2021-22 in many parts of Canada. Our hope is that this project will provide important information about how clinicians and schools can help families in their attempts to support their children’s learning as they move forward into an uncertain future.

Do you have additional information you would like to share about the project?
Because the Covid-19 pandemic has affected regions of Canada differently, we’d like to gather information from as many geographical regions as possible. We will be asking clinics, hospitals, schools, and organizations across Canada to help distribute our survey. Stay tuned!