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Today, 21 June, the Spectrum of Misconception has launched its campaign to raise awareness about the importance of friends and positive relationships for people with learning disabilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, but it has had a disproportionate impact on children and adults with learning disabilities. Here is just some of the evidence:
- A study led by Warwick University found that the pandemic has had a negative impact on both the mental and physical health of people with learning disabilities, with people becoming increasingly withdrawn due to the lack of social contact.
- Research from Dimensions found that 93% of people with learning disabilities or autism felt more isolated from society due to the pandemic.
- A recent Ofsted study for SEND pupils reported that young people had found the long lockdown difficult, with many talking about missing their friends and some finding the lack of contact with their school or college especially difficult.
- The Office of National Statistics reported that disabled adults more frequently reported feeling lonely in the last seven days (48.7%) than non-disabled adults (29.4%).
- The Disabled Children’s Partnership surveyed over 4,000 families of disabled children to ask how they had been impacted by the lockdown, finding 70-80% reported worsening emotional and mental health for both their children and themselves.
- A Westminster Hall debate held on the impact of Covid-19 on Learning Disabled People reported on increased isolation and loneliness in people with learning disabilities due to reduced access to technology.
During the course of the pandemic, many people with learning disabilities have lost their support and become isolated from their friends and families. Important contacts with families were impacted with restrictions on visiting loved ones living in residential care or supported living.
Hug from Home reminds us that everyone benefits from having great friends and positive relationships. There are huge benefits to hugs, including virtual hugs, so please get involved!
- Follow and support the Hug from Home campaign via social media, including sending your own virtual hug. Follow the hashtag #hugfromhome to get involved.
- Find out more about the campaign here: www.spectrumofmisconception.com
Coming out of lockdown, Malachy's parents believe that society will still be inaccessible for families with children or adults with a severe learning disability.