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Pandemic increased vulnerability of persons with developmental disabilities and their families, study finds

Child with disability in swing with mother pushing, wears blue mask of pandemic coronavirus protection.

A study by Plena Inclusión Spain indicates that the health and social crisis has caused a setback in progress achieved during the COVID19 pandemic.

A study carried out by the Inico (Institute of Integration in the Community) of the University of Salamanca shows that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families have experienced a worsening situation, with the consequent increase in their vulnerability during COVID.

The study is based on online surveys conducted with about 1,500 people: 582 with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 323 relatives and legal guardians, 495 professionals, and 75 managers or managers of centers and services. The report collects their opinions and explores the impact of confinement in the family context, the working conditions of direct care professionals, and the management carried out by third sector entities.

According to the opinions collected, the health and social crisis has generated a setback in progress achieved during these years by people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in areas as fundamental as work, education, or social services. To this, we must add that from care and medicalized vision, centered on the model of large residences, the rights of personal autonomy of thousands of people with disabilities continue to be violated.

“From Plena Inclusion, we defend an inclusive model centered on the person that enhances life in the community and respects their own decisions made with the necessary support,” argues Berta González , the technical coordinator of Plena Inclusion Spain, the largest state organization that works for the rights and improvement of the living conditions of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Another data outlined is the lack of support from public administrations. Three out of four families of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities were asked to say that during the health crisis, they felt the support of social organizations such as Plena Inclusion, a confederation that brings together 935 associations from all over the country.

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