There are emerging guidelines on the safe care and support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, guidance remains evolving, has not permeated all reaches of the community where the knowledge is desperately needed, and isn't always presented in ways in which are often fully comprehended by those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A second consideration is that the likely disproportionate impact of mitigation efforts and social distancing on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For many, physical proximity to worry givers and loved ones is required to bridge gaps in intellectual and communication abilities and to form day-to-day life fulfilling, predictable, and manageable.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities were disproportionately isolated before the pandemic, and intensification of that isolation stands only to weaken the community for all citizens. many people round the world are taking full advantage of screen-based technologies to mediate interpersonal connection, but this is often an impossibility for several with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for whom virtual interaction even if accessible is an inadequate substitute. For those that can, getting to the “digital divide” (i.e., frank disparities in access to the technology necessary for virtual connectivity), also as ensuring that Wi-Fi and usable devices are made available, may be a pressing urgency; those that cannot benefit should be prioritized for the in-person services that they have.
A third and related domain is inequity in education across the lifespan. As school term and camp programs were suspended, and as classrooms are being converted to virtual learning environments for the autumn of 2020, the discrepancy in delivery of a free and appropriate public education (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Parts A–D) is pronounced between what's available to typically developing children compared with those requiring education. Education for teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities often requires nuanced physical contact and redirection, enhanced teacher-to-student ratios, interpersonal prompting, and shut attention to the motivational structure of the environment. These educational considerations extend broadly to job training programs, supported employment for adults with developmental disabilities, and every one elements of assistance that are required to sustain the integral role of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities within the national workforce.
Support of scholars and trainees may require addressing physical positioning, toileting, feeding, and other needs associated with activities of daily living. It’s an inordinate burden to aim to recapitulate the conditions of an “appropriate” education reception for many families and to avoid secondary consequences of people with disabilities falling further behind in academic achievement behavioral decompensation within the absence of the structure of a faculty or work day. Mobilizing qualified in-home personnel, clarifying which individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more or less amenable to in-home virtual training and education—some children with autism-related disabilities, for instance, are thriving within the relative absence of faculty bullying and overstimulation and supporting newly unemployed parents to deliver education and/or developmental therapies are critical urgencies.