The COVID-19 public health crisis has changed the way we all live, and for the disability community, these changes are even more profound. Parents who find themselves in a bind with how to manage this transition and new issues that arise with remote learning, are also balancing having to modify instruction to their children’s needs. Individuals with anxiety disorders find that activities like grocery shopping are even more insurmountable. Medically complex patients who live at home with home health aides, attendants, or in home nursing live in fear that the healthcare provider workforce will be diminished due to COVID, and that they will be trapped at home without the supports they need. As individuals with disabilities navigate this time of quarantine, they enter a world that is new, technologically complex and emotionally draining.
Not only do these changes affect the disability community but it also affects the way in which Community Legal Aid Society’s Disabilities Law Program (DLP) interacts with and assists the disability community. To help people with disabilities and their families stay informed, we have created and continue to issue guidance and provide information on services and resources in the community. The DLP have been actively involved in researching and providing feedback on systemic issues that have arisen during this crisis. More specially, it has reviewed and provided feedback on issues pertaining to medical rationing and standards of care, voting by mail or internet, distribution of CARE Act school funds and proper personal protective equipment, and discharge plans in mental health facilities. Whether it be through letters, legal advocacy, or publications, the DLP is working day in and day out to make sure that Delawareans with disabilities’ needs are met, and their rights are respected. While we do not know what the aftermath of this crisis will bring, we know that the disability community will be impacted, and we will be ready to assist the community on the long road to normalcy. Our offices and intakes will continue to be open through the duration of this crisis and we encourage the disability community to continue to reach out to our office if they have any questions, concerns or require assistance during these hard times.