A major international study is investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with intellectual disabilities, their families and service providers.
The international study, funded by the Irish Health Board, involves researchers in Australia, Ireland, the UK, the USA, Netherlands, Zambia, Czech Republic, India and Norway.
La Trobe University’s Professor Christine Bigby is a key researcher.
“In times of crisis, people with intellectual disabilities are heavily reliant on others to uphold their rights. But COVID-19 has shown us that people who are different are often devalued and their rights overlooked,” Professor Bigby said.
The group has developed an online survey for caregivers around the world to explore their experiences supporting individuals who have intellectual and developmental disability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The international nature of this study will enable comparison across 19 countries about the impact of COVID 19 on people with intellectual disabilities, providing data about different strategies put in place by the disability sector to mitigate effects of the pandemic on wellbeing of this most vulnerable group.”
“Gaining comparative data across countries will enable us to identify where the pandemic has been well managed and thus countries whose policies warrant further exploration,” Professor Bigby said.
This will help to draft policy and practice guidelines on how best to support people with intellectual disabilities, their families and support services during pandemics and other natural disasters.
If you feel that you would need more information about support for families or people with disability during the pandemic, call The Disability Information Helpline on (free call) 1800 643 787.