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‘Untethered’: How Coronavirus Is Affecting The Developmentally Disabled

(Photo: Kelli McClintock on Unsplash)
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COVID-19’s dramatic disruption of everyday life can be especially difficult for people with a developmental disability — and their families.

School systems and other government agencies that help people with a developmental disability have had to change how they provide services by moving most of them online. That can be a huge problem for people with things like Down syndrome or autism who rely on in-person support.

Shafali Jeste, a pediatric neurologist and professor at UCLA, told us:

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“They’re untethered, they don’t have the support that they normally would have. And a lot of it is falling on the parents to have to provide those supports.”

That includes Jennifer St. Jude of Lancaster. Her two kids have autism, and so does she.

“Not knowing that light at the end of the tunnel, not having that definitive timeframe is just like [a] total trigger for people on the spectrum,” she said.


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