Written by Mackenzie Saunders:
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an entire host of changes to our world. Changes include not being able to go to bars, not being able to sit down at restaurants, and having to work from home. However, the changes happening in the lives of people with disabilities due to COVID-19 are astronomical. People with disabilities have been disproportionately affected and burdened by this global pandemic. Read about some of the most significant changes below.
Many people with disabilities rely on consistent, in-person doctor’s appointments to address their medical needs. However, in-person medical care has been greatly restricted due to COVID-19, leaving people with disabilities without their critical in-person care. People with disabilities who use caregivers in their everyday life have also been affected; many caregivers have had to move back home during this pandemic, leaving people with disabilities without their needed day-to-day care.
The good news is this: remote medical care is now more accessible than ever. Remote medical care can be a great option for those who need medication refills, advice on a current injury, or even a quick check-up with their doctor. While not all healthcare can be performed remotely, remote healthcare gives people the option to receive the care they may need while protecting themselves from COVID-19.
Many employers have transitioned their employees to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is huge for people with disabilities; while remote work opens up a world of opportunities for workers with disabilities, the quick transition from in-person work to remote work has led people with disabilities to ask, “Why weren’t employers allowing us to work at home before the pandemic?”
Before COVID-19, many employers were denying their workers with disabilities the opportunity to work from home as a reasonable accommodation — but today, millions of workers around the world are being accommodated with ease with opportunities for remote work. While remote work is beneficial to people with disabilities, the transition to online work has highlighted how employers, for years, have been refusing accommodations that could have easily been made for workers with disabilities.
COVID-19 has forced most schools to transition to online learning to protect the health of teachers and students. However, students with learning and cognitive disabilities have had a difficult time transitioning to online school. Online learning may work well for some, but it does not work well for all.
While teachers and students alike struggle to adapt to this new mode of education, students with disabilities have even more challenges to overcome when adapting to online schooling. For example, the lack of hands-on teaching and the lack of an environment dedicated to education has led to students with disabilities struggling to keep up with their schoolwork. Additionally, students who are blind or Deaf have reported difficulties with online schooling, as not all online school systems have accessibility features.
COVID-19 has changed the lives of everyone, but people with disabilities face unique challenges during this pandemic. To transform our world into a place that works for everyone, we must take note of the struggles of people with disabilities, and take the necessary steps to remedy these struggles and make our world accessible to all.