All around the world, governments placed their citizens into various forms of lock-down as the COVID19 virus spread fast throughout the world.
Suddenly, and for the first time in a very long time, huge populations are coming face to face with a feeling of what its like being excluded from normal life and a sense of isolation, as individuals with the virus, and those in their households, are quarantined in homes and hospitals.
Many asked to remain home unless its essential to out, many workers are now laid off. This is devastating and at times depressing for so many, but what many don’t realize is this sense of isolation and detachment from “normal” life isn’t a temporary phase for many disabled.
They aren’t waiting out the lockdown for normality to resume. For a large percentage of the population, including the elderly and many of the 1.3 billion people living with a disability from child to adult worldwide, this daily experience of isolation and exclusion is unfortunately the norm.
Many of those living with a disability will not be able to go back to “business as usual” after the pandemic has cleared:
This is their usual. But their usual must change with this pandemic, because for far too long, people living with a disability have been excluded from daily life.
If suddenly many can work from home why cannot the disabled? Many companies snarled at employees working from home often leaving those immune compromised or the disabled just out of luck when wanting to remain in the workforce.
And right now, amid this pandemic, we must not forget the specific needs of people with disabilities. In 2020, it is deeply worrying that, once again, in a time of crisis, I see many cases where the specific needs of the disability community are being overlooked. As we design systems for the future, it is important we do not repeat the wrongs of the past – or the present crisis.
Example : Many disabled use at home delivery grocery services regulary- once this pandemic started suddenly disabled could not rely on logging in to get groceries in a couple days: sometimes all the slots were taken for up to 2 weeks.
Noone made any special accommodations for them or seen that their needs were met.
Same with the extra unemployment check stimulus many received not just their standard unemployment you not just got unemployment you they received an extra 600.00 a week or every two weeks: Yet the disabled who get a mear 450.00 to 1300.00 a month received nothing else weekly or monthly. Many said they made more on unemployment than working because of that extra kick . Yet again the disabled are left out.
Thankfully, everyone did receive the 1200.00 stimulus as a one time help which was appreciated.
But the disabled still in the long run got screwed, often they seem to be overlooked, the government could have put an extra 600.00 a month or more in their account like they did those who were unemployed getting it a week.
I noticed there were no sales, so everything cost more except gas for the car. Food prices were up, and good luck finding many needed household items.
Right now, we must not forget the specific needs of people with disabilities. In 2020, it is deeply worrying that, once again, in a time of crisis, I see many cases where the specific needs of the disability community are being overlooked.
As we design systems for the future, it is important we do not repeat the wrongs of the past – or the present crisis.
There is a business incentive to recognize the value of the market of those living with a disability, but there is an even stronger moral and societal imperative that this exclusion ends now.
The majority of people have now experienced what mass social exclusion feels like, and we cannot “unknow” what we know about how it feels to be isolated.
We now all know the pain of isolation and exclusion , unable to see family, friends, coworkers, classmates as we plan for our future, we must insist on no one being left behind.