News: Does the pandemic continue to affect individuals with disabilities?

Nicole Baumer explains why problems are likely to persist

In "The pandemic isn’t over — particularly for people with disabilities," Nicole Baumer, M.D., M.Ed., discussed how the SARS-Cov-19 pandemic has caused harms for people with disabilities. Her blog post for the Harvard (MA, USA) Medical School's publications arm described how disruptions in required programs and lost opportunities for personal-social relations may have negative effects on individuals with disabilities. She also discussed the possibility that SARS-Cov-19 "may pose a greater risk to people with intellectual and developmental disability. Further, it may do so at younger ages."

Dr. Baumer also discussed the gaps in public relief efforts and difficulties some individuals with disabilities may have in understanding and implementing recommendations of public health officials. Some features of disabilities themselves may make it more difficult for individuals with, for example, intellectual disability, to adopt safe habits (washing one's hands; wearing a mask; receiving a vaccination). In addition, some aspects of the services these children, youths, and adults receive—for example, conjugate living arrangements—may put them at greater risk for infection.

Dr. Baumer serves as a child neurologist and as a specialist on neurodevelopmental disabilities at Boston Children's Hospital; she is also an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. She directs the Boston Children's Hospital Down Syndrome Program and specializes in treatment of individuals with Down syndrome, autism, ADHD, and other neurobehavioral disorders.

If some readers of this SpedTalk post have recommendations about promoting public health recommendations for individuals with autism, intellectual disability, or other disabilities, please provide them in the comments on this post. I especially welcome comments that link to research evidence about recommended practices.

Read Dr. Baumer’s blog post.

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