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Organization Launches Helpline for People With Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities

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What happened: The Arc of California and the Stony Brook University (SBU) School of Social Welfare recently launched Project Connect, a free 24/7 telehealth line aiming to support people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their caretakers. SBU graduate students, supervised by licensed social workers, will support callers, give them guidance and make referrals. Project Connect is available by calling 888-847-3209.

We hope this free teletherapy line will remind people that they are not alone, and to give those who are feeling overwhelmed or are struggling a glimmer of hope that together we can get through this and thrive. — Jordan Lindsey, Disability Scoop

The Frontlines: People with intellectual or developmental disabilities are profoundly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, both due to unique COVID-19 health risks and lack of access to services.

  • A July 2020 study found that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than their typical counterparts.
  • Developmental monitoring and intervention can be important in managing developmental disabilities, according to the Center for Disease Control. These interventions may be impacted due to the newfound challenges of remote therapies.
  • An August 2020 study found that crises like COVID-19 can lead to caregivers experiencing prolonged periods of increased anxiety and depression symptoms.

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A Mighty Voice: An understandably taxing and stressful factor for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities face is that hospitals considered contingency COVID-19 plans that might deprioritize care for people with disabilities. Contributor Mickey Rowe, who is on the spectrum, wrote about why his life is just as valuable as others.

“As a legally blind autistic man, father and professional, I am here to say that my life provides just as much value to the world as yours does. My autism does not affect my respiratory health or immune system, but on this, the 30th anniversary of the ADA, Quality-Adjusted Life Years legally values me as less of a person.” You can submit your first-person story, too.

From Our Community: 

Has anyone else been checking the news constantly and falling down Coronavirus rabbit holes? #Anxiety #COVID19

Other Things to Know: Between access to care and treatment for COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the disability community. You can read more about the challenges people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers face in the stories below.

How to Take Action: If you need support, you can call the new Project Connect helpline at 888-847-3209.

Image via Getty Image/monkeybusinessimages

Originally published: December 4, 2020
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