The present COVID-19 pandemic is a severe health threat to millions of people around the world and has a huge impact on their lives. In an attempt to control this pandemic, countries worldwide have taken measures to protect their citizens from COVID-19, such as the closure of public places (e.g. cafes, cinemas, schools, and museums), instructions to stay at home and keeping social distance, and quarantine in the case of infection (World Health Organization 2020). These measures have had a considerable impact on people with intellectual disability (Courtenay 2020).
The loss of work or daytime activity may have had a particularly significant impact on them, due to the lack of other purposeful activities in their lives (Lysaght et al. 2009, 2017). It is assumed that further distress may have been caused because people with an intellectual disability failed to understand the measures or what their purpose was (Courtenay 2020). Nevertheless, based on anecdotal information, the picture that is emerging is not simply a negative one (Hughes and Anderson 2020). For example, several intellectual disability organizations have reported a decrease in challenging behavior displayed by people with an intellectual disability, possibly due to more stability in staff teams (Rose et al. 2020; VGN 2020).
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In addition, several organizations have reported that people with an intellectual disability are more settled and relaxed than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic (Hughes and Anderson 2020). Despite assumptions and anecdotal observations about the potential challenges and gains experienced by people with an intellectual disability, with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, empirical research is lacking. Research is needed to gain insight into the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people with an intellectual disability and to explore their needs.
Therefore, the aim of this paper is to explore the experiences and needs of people with an intellectual disability with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we will focus on the experiences and needs of people with a mild intellectual disability with a (paid) job during the initial stage of the lockdown in the Netherlands, which took place between March 15 and May 11.
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