A diagnosis of either attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) identifies an individual as unable to attend expectedly and appropriately, particularly in school settings. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, what defined the expected and the appropriate was considerate, close physical contact among people. In understanding that aerosol droplets from vocalization cause the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, what is acceptable contact has now shifted to distancing oneself from people and communicating in a way that eliminates vocal spray. The norms for socialization diametrically changed as a consequence of the pandemic. Yet, there has been no concurrent reassessment of the meaning of “disorder” related to ADHD and ASD within the school setting. A diagnosis of ADHD and/or ASD often brings with it an expectation for special education. Therefore, it is important that changes in social norms be recognized as they define the meaning of “disorder”. Investigated here is in what way each diagnosis demonstrates disorder in response to the imposed COVID-19 restrictions and how this can be anticipated to affect the schooling of those with ADHD and ASD during the pandemic.
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