The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) sent a letter to public health officials and other leaders urging consideration for the unique needs of people with developmental disabilities (DD) as government agencies respond to COVID-19.
TCDD shared the concern that for people with DD, the greater risk from COVID-19 may not actually be from the disease itself. A more significant risk may be how the COVID-19 situation disrupts access to critical services and supports.
The letter includes a list of specific concerns for people with DD during the COVID-19 response, including:
- Access to resources: People with DD and their families, including those who speak languages other than English, should receive COVID-19 instructions in plain language.
- Community response planning: People with DD should be included in local response plans, especially individuals who have chronic health conditions that elevate their risk of acquiring COVID-19.
- Congregate and residential settings: The risks associated with living in close quarters should be addressed. People with DD who live in group homes, state-supported living centers, and other facilities may not be able to follow recommendations for social distancing and therefore may be at an increased risk for COVID-19.
- Individual protection and prevention: Some people with DD may have greater difficulty following recommendations for social distancing since they may need hands-on help from others for everyday tasks.
- Work and school: Employers should be provided with information so they can help their employees who have DD successfully work from home. School districts should receive strategies to help students with DD continue their classwork if their school is closed.
In the letter, TCDD offers assistance in multiple ways, including sharing educational resources, making connections with organizations, and providing access to disability experts at the local, state, and national level.
To read TCDD’s letter to public health officials, click here.