‘Coronavirus has made enforced separation a universal experience, but there are additional and far-reaching challenges for learning disabled people and their families.’: Saba Salman discusses the emotional impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on her family, as well as the potentially devastating effect the Coronavirus Bill (now an Act) will have on people with disabilities.
My son also lives in a small supported living setting. There are 10 single person apartments under one roof and there are communal areas and large gardens. Not being able to visit is the hardest thing at the moment especially when those of our loved ones don’t fully understand why they are suddenly not able to do things. Each person where my son lives has a dedicated staff team who have gone above and beyond what is normally expected of them during these uncertain times and have been enabling families keep in touch either by phone calls or video calls for those who are able. All are confined to their own apartments but go out individually into the gardens with one of their staff team in order to exercise and get some fresh air. As day centres are also closed the staff have been finding alternative activities and developing ways to maintain routines for everyone. I agree that this group of vulnerable people always seem to be at the back of the queue with regards to health care, funding and everything else that the rest of us take for granted but there is some very good practice out there and we must celebrate it where we know it exists. We’re all having to think outside the box in these unprecedented and frightening times and we owe it to our vulnerable learning disabled relatives to work together with the decision makers to bring about the improvements in services and funding they so desperately need.