Isolation, Lost Opportunities Headline Worries for People with Learning Disabilities in the UK – Report

93 percent of people with learning disabilities and autism in the United Kingdom say they feel more isolated from society due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This is according to new research by the UK’s largest not-for-profits organization, Dimensions, which also finds that 97 percent of the group of people is calling for more to be done by the government to address their needs.

Further, the report indicates that 75 percent of people with learning disabilities and autism worry that after the pandemic, they will not get the same opportunities they had before.

Another 76 percent of respondents said they have been made to feel that compared to other people, they do not matter.

Additionally, a majority, at 97 percent, say it is important that more people understand how coronavirus has affected people with learning disabilities and autism.

However, the report also reveals some ray of hope with 67 percent of respondents saying they are hopeful that more reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities and autism will be considered in the future.

57 percent of those surveyed also revealed that they have been inspired to get more involved in politics and decision making.

Commenting on the findings, Dimensions Campaigns Manager Sarah Walters in a statement said that despite the challenges occasioned by the virus, so many people in the UK continue to achieve remarkable things.

“Our research highlights just how isolating the pandemic has been for people with learning disabilities and autism, with many worried that in the future they won’t have the same opportunities they had before. Yet, many remain hopeful our society will evolve to be more inclusive. We cannot let them down,” she said.

“COVID-19 cannot be an excuse to sit back and do nothing. Our research should be a wake-up call – the pandemic needs to be a catalyst for change for us to do more to listen and to understand the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism.”

The report indicates that many people with learning disabilities and autism have overcome major hurdles during the pandemic and made progress in various aspects of their lives. As such, 70 percent feel proud that they have learned to use online communication tools, stayed in touch with their families and friends, or helped others to feel better during the lockdown.

Margaret Njuguna