People with intellectual disabilities have been especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of them, health and recovery have been put on hold.
For instance, Kara Eusebio tells about the difficulties her own brother has had to endure in, “I Hope He Doesn’t Feel Too Lonely – COVID-19 Hits People With Intellectual Disabilities Hard,” published in World Economic Forum, April 24. 2020.
Eusebio’s brother has an intellectual disability and was scheduled to move into a group home when the pandemic began. He had to remain living with his original family.
“His world remains mostly his bedroom,” Eusebio writes.
Her brother was unable to go to his part-time job, attend church or go to the library. Eusebio watched her brother struggle with loneliness, which was a problem for people with intellectual disabilities even before the pandemic.
Indeed, all types of services for those with intellectual disabilities have been halted or changed as a result of the pandemic. Art therapy is certainly one of them.
While art therapy has gone on-line in many places, the results have received mixed reviews by art therapists.
Alexandra Elena Todd, in “Art Therapy Adapting to COVID-19 and Helping Those in Need,” interviewed several art therapists around the world. The article is found in Medill Reports Chicago, Nov. 23, 2020.
Diane Fleisch Hughes, an art therapist for children with intellectual and learning disabilities in northeast Ohio, told Todd, “These children do not adapt well to change in normal circumstances, let alone with the pandemic.”
Global academic circles have taken notice. For instance, the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities published a special issue in early February, 2022 about problems arising from the pandemic and on-line education. Those problems include lack of economic resources, digital literacy and barriers to socialization.
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