Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

How Did Children With Disabilities Experience Education and Social Welfare During Covid-19?

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Abstract:  Research suggests that children with disabilities have been systemically marginalised during the Covid-19 pandemic as contamination measures complicated some social policies. School closure, quarantine, and the increased use of social media in remote schooling have placed children with disabilities in a vulnerable situation. This article explores the subjective consequences of such processes through the analysis of qualitative interviews with parents who had children with disabilities. To contextualise our analysis, we also draw on expert interviews with bureaucrats and social workers and data from a survey that was sent out to parents who had children with disabilities. Taken together, these data sources provide a rich empirical context to study how the pandemic influenced the access of children with disabilities to education and social services in Norway. We also pay attention to how the pandemic influenced parents’ perception of social welfare in Norway and discuss how issues of race, class, and socio-economic background were reflected in their experiences. Both interview data and survey data were gathered during the pandemic. Conceptually we take inspiration from the capability approach with a particular focus on theoretical work on “conversion factors.” These theoretical perspectives invite us to identify and analyse specific mechanisms that prevented and/or enabled children with disabilities to live a life according to their own visions and values during the pandemic. Through this study of how children with disabilities experienced education and social welfare in Norway during the pandemic, we shed new light on how one of the world’s most advanced welfare states operates during a time of crisis.

Keywords:  capability; children with disability; education; Norway; pandemic; social welfare



© Kjetil Klette-Bøhler, Dagmara Bossy, Vyda Mamley Hervie. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.