People with intellectual disabilities research Covid-19 experiences

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PEOPLE with intellectual disabilities have been hit hard by the
closure of their day services and workplaces during the Covid-19
crisis.

They believe that information about the disease and how to prevent its
spread needs to be more widely available in picture-based,
Easy-to-Read form.

Those are some of the findings of new research conducted by and with
people with intellectual disabilities and published today by Inclusion
Ireland and Technological University (TU) Dublin.

“This report is fantastic, as the report and project were done and
powered by people with disabilities,” researcher and author Tomás
Murphy said.

Murphy and co-authors Margaret Turley and Chris Byrne designed the
research and conducted Zoom interviews during the summer with 11
adults who have intellectual disabilities.

The 20-page report, ‘The Experiences of Adults with Intellectual
Disabilities in Ireland During the Covid-19 Crisis’, includes sections
on work, social life, independence, boredom and information, with
featured quotes from all 11 participants.

Murphy, Turley and Byrne were part of the team that produced last
year’s widely publicised report on ‘short school days’ for children
with disabilities, funded by the Irish Research Council, with authors
from TU Dublin Deborah Brennan and Harry Browne.

For the latest research on Covid-19, Dr Browne and Nóirín Clancy from
Inclusion Ireland helped with making contacts, recording interviews
and editing the report.

Based on their research, the authors argue that people with
disabilities must be allowed to play a more active role in decisions
affecting their lives, as the Covid-19 crisis continues.

They point out the particular needs of people with disabilities in
returning to workplaces affected by Covid-19, and call for better,
clearer information about the crisis – and especially about
mask-wearing.

Article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities states that nations must look after people with
disabilities in “situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies”.
Ireland is to report this year on its compliance with the convention.

While the report focuses on how the Covid-19 crisis affects adults
with disabilities, the participants shared a mix of fear, confusion,
curiosity, frustration, isolation, leisure, boredom and empathy that
will be familiar to most readers who have lived through the last six
months.

A video showing the research in action is available on Inclusion
Ireland’s YouTube page and the report is available to download here

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