The Impact of the COVID-19 Related School Closure on the Mental Health and Well-Being of Children with SEN and Their Parents in Algeria


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and affected different nations in different ways. In Algeria, education has been hit hard by the lockdown as schools embarked on a total closure to stop the spread of the virus. For students and their parents, such a closure meant limited access to the support embodied in the school. This qualitative study explored the school closure experiences of parents and their children with special educational needs (SEN). Twenty-three parents and five children with SEN were recruited in the study. Data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews, using online video calling, and was analysed using thematic analysis. Six main themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews. These were: (1) the participants’ emotional experience; (2) the participants’ social experience; (3) children’s behaviour during school closure; (4) the participants’ learning experience; (5) children’s new routine; (6) restarting all over again. The study findings revealed that both children with SEN and their parents experienced mental and social-emotional difficulties following the school closure. As such, the findings imply that the school climate and social landscape have a pivotal role in promoting and maintaining the students’ stability and well-being.

Suggested Citation

Layachi, A., & Schuelka, M. J. (2022). The impact of the COVID-19 related school closure on the mental health and well-being of children with SEN and their parents in Algeria. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 1–18.


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Taylor & Francis Online


  • Community life
    • Parenting and family relationships
  • Health and safety
    • Emergency/disaster preparedness
    • Mental health supports