The widespread presence of COVID-19 around the world has unfoldedvarious types of health concerns for varying populaces. The ongoing research in various fields linked with COVID-19 has thrown some shining light on a group of unique and mentally challenged people who may bevulnerable to COVID-19 virus.Yes! They are the individuals with developmental disorders.
Well! The new COVID virus has raised a distinctive alarming situation among people with developmental and behavioural disorders. The reason being their compromised immune system and limited cognitive functions which increase the risk of getting susceptible to coronavirus than others.
Challenges for the differently-abled and people with developmental disorder
The healthcare needsseem to be more for people with developmental disorders due to theirdisabilities. Also, comprehending the current pandemic situation and working close to it may not be possible for them because of the difficulties they face in accessing information, understanding itand practising the preventative measures. Not only this, enacting social distancing is another challenge for them and their care takers. Blind people, others with low vision, people with difficulty in speaking, and others with inadequate cognitive abilities find it difficult to communicate the symptoms, understand the importance of prevention or follow the preventive guidelines.
Hence, to protect and make the COVID-19 virus strikeless impact on them, it is the responsibility of the healthcare providers, parents, and caregivers to be aware and brief them more about the present pandemic crisis.
Important things individuals with developmental disorder need to know about COVID-19:
· Not all individuals with developmental disorders are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. But, individuals with underlying medical conditions may be at a threat of getting severely ill from coronavirus.
· Supportive care is the only treatment now available,hence following proper preventive measures is vital to prevent yourselves and others from getting exposed to COVID-19 virus.
What simple action and protective measures can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among individuals with the developmental disorders?
The following are a few actions whichneed to be considered to address the specific needs of individuals with disabilities and to maintain the health, self-esteem, safety, and independence in the community where you live throughout the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Never stop any medications or treatment plan without the advice of the healthcare provider.
- Ensure to do the tests as suggested by the doctor.
- Children with developmental disorders should continue monitoring, receive developmental screenings, and access evaluations on timeduring COVID-19 pandemic.
- Get the routine immunization on time.
- Deliver home-based consultations for developmental disorder individuals for general health, rehabilitation, and COVID-19 related needs.
- Speak with the doctor, and stock-up the prescription medicines. Also,keep the emergency medical supplies like masks, hand sanitizers, gloves,and other supplies handy.
- Maintain an emergency notebook mentioning the details of the caregivers, therapists, and healthcare providers. Also, note down any personal medical conditions, allergies, information on existing medications, and a few routines and activities which you are following.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene, social distancing, disinfect the frequently used areas, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently to minimize the risk of infection.
- Self-monitor your symptoms and isolate yourself if any symptoms develop.
- Avoid accessing crowded environments and minimize interaction with others as much as possible.
- Utilize the special working hours dedicated for disability individuals, if available, in case of emergency health needs.
- Frequently disinfect the assistive products used like wheelchairs, walkers, walking canes, white canes, transfer boards, or other products used,if any,in public spaces.
- Continue to poola number of caregivers in your list to ensure timely support if an emergency arises and to avoid workforce shortage.
- Join in a support network group and make sure your family members have access to it so that they can communicate effectively in any circumstance if you become unwell.
- Stay connected virtually with family, friends, and therapists.
Fight stress during the COVID-19 pandemic
Stress for the people with developmental disorders and disabilities as well as their caretakers is quite natural during this challenging time. But, being in a positive mind set and extending continuous support to the needy is very crucial. Here are a few tips that can help you and all around you cope with stress:
- Limit yourself from hearing new pandemic stories as listening to it repeatedly can make you go down.
- Practice deep breathing exercise and meditation regularly
- Eating healthy, regular meals, adding simple physical exercises in daily routine and getting enough sleep is the key to keep healthy and stress-free.
- Fade out your inner feelings by doing activities that you enjoy the most.
- While you maintain social distancing, get socially connected with your family and friends through emails, video chat, or Facebook.
We are living through the pandemic crisis successfully. Though we are getting adjusted to the current situation, the concerns and overwhelming state due to COVID-19 are increasing day by day. Individuals with developmental disorders may need an extra blanket of care to protect themselves during the daunting COVID-19 season.Following the above-listed measures may help to navigate yourself and other family members from these challenging times!
Good care and support are the need of this pandemic era!
So, be compassionate, make their needs accessible and lend a hand for different ability individuals!