How the pandemic has disrupted the lives of adults with learning disabilities

The impact of coronavirus has altered all aspects of people’s lives. But for adults with learning disabilities, it has impaired their characteristics as well as their mundane routines.

Writing for the Guardian, Saba Salman reveals how her adult sister, with a learning disability, has been left “in limbo with few activities” to suffice. Despite being supported and encouraged to take up her favourite hobbies and explore her creativity, such as baking, creating ceramics and sewing, her “ethos of independence is eroding.”

Although, to avoid households from mixing, all the usual activities that Raana goes to are on hold.

According to research, many other adults with learning disabilities are also experiencing the same difficulties.

Some of these people with learning disabilities have chosen to gain a sense of independence by living alone, with the support of chosen individuals at hand and have become regular customers at local coffee houses, restaurants and shops.

However, with the ongoing and ever-changing coronavirus restrictions put into place, it has massively impacted the way adults with learning disabilities go about their daily lives. There are even concerns from family members regarding how their loved ones will function in the upcoming winter months since the current rules restrict home visits for many.

Saba’s sister Raana, for example, is limited to her house bubble of five roommates and three support workers, and she says “the no visitors rule is hard to bear”.

Therefore, staff members are considering options such as assigning visitor areas and utilising outdoor heating.

With these issues in mind, many people who have loved ones with learning disabilities are calling for automatic testing for those in supported living, a centralised system for supported living staff to obtain personal protective equipment, and up-to-date coronavirus-related guidance.

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Learning disabilities