Document Type


Publication Date



Publication Title

Journal of Enabling Technologies








Purpose. This paper examines the impact of the abrupt transition from attending school face-to-face to participating in online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reported by a parent of a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design/methodology/approach. A phone interview was conducted with the parent of a child with ASD. The semi-structured interview focused on how the child’s family was impacted when classes shifted to virtual from face-to-face learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings. Four themes emerged from the interview. Three of these included adjustments to changes in 1) routines and roles, 2) instruction, and 3) social interactions. A final theme involved the benefits and challenges that emerged following the transition to online learning for students with ASD. While we are in an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 global pandemic presenting understandable challenges, opportunities for and examples of effective virtual learning environments for students with ASD were reported in our parent interview.

Practical Implications. This research provides insight regarding the impact of COVID-19 and highlights elements that should be considered involving technology for students with ASD. Increased awareness regarding the benefits and contraindications of technology while teaching students with ASD can minimize the adverse effects and enhance the positive impact of technology in students with ASD.

Originality/value. This work shares the experiences of one parent of a child with ASD and their experiences with technology and learning during COVID-19.


This article won an award for Outstanding Paper in the 2022 Emerald Literati Awards by Emerald Publishing Limited and is available open access for 12 months.

The author(s) accepted manuscript version of the article is attached as an additional file. The publisher's version is available at


0000-0003-1424-6610 (Roitsch); 0000-0002-5645-9297 (Moore); 0000-0002-9595-9075 (Horn)

Original Publication Citation

Roitsch, J., Moore, R.L., & Horn, A.L. (2021). Lessons learned: what the COVID-19 global pandemic has taught us about teaching, technology, and students with autism spectrum disorder, Journal of Enabling Technologies, 15(2), pp. 108-116.