Special education teachers’ experiences of addressing challenging behaviour during the pandemic

David Simó-Pinatella, Sui Lin Goei, Marisa Carvalho, Monique Nelen

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In times such as this pandemic, where the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in school shutdowns, emergency remote learning was implemented in several countries and different educational settings. School closures made it challenging for special education teachers to support their children with special needs and families. This research aimed to identify the support provided by Spanish teachers in special education schools to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who exhibit challenging behaviour and the support given to their families. Data were collected from 22 teachers from seven special education schools by using focus group interviews. Thematic analysis was used to identify, analyse, and report patterns within the data. The results show that teachers deployed many different interventions to provide adequate support to their students and families, such as delivering materials to families, communicating in diverse ways, providing academic or functional tasks, and working with other services. Despite these efforts, teachers also reported difficulties when providing support to students and families. Therefore, future research needs to continue exploring experiences during COVID-19 to inform more accurate educational practices, especially considering children with special needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-920
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Special schools
  • challenging behaviour
  • intellectual and developmental disabilities


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