Let’s not go back to ‘normal’! lessons from COVID-19 for professionals working in childhood disability Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • PURPOSE: The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost all aspects of our lives, and the field of childhood disability is no exception. METHODS: This article is based on an invited lecture by the first author at a conference-the eHealth Summit ("Pediatric Rehabilitation in a Digital Space")-organized by the other authors and their colleagues in May 2020. RESULTS: The first author offers his own experiences and perspectives, supplemented by comments and observations contributed by many of the 9000+ attendees at this talk, as curated by the second and third authors. The basic messages are that while life for families of children with developmental disabilities, and for service providers who work with them, is significantly altered, many important lessons are being learned. CONCLUSIONS: The comments from participants support the currency of the ideas that were presented, and encourage childhood disability professionals to reflect on what we are learning, so that we can seize the opportunities they afford to do things differently-and we believe better-moving forward.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONIdeas generated by colleagues and parents suggest that there may be alternatives to "business as usual" in childhood disability services after the COVID pandemic is over.People are recognizing opportunities, and benefits, to offering services virtually, including being able to see children in their natural environments, saving parents time, money and hassles to attend clinics in person, and perhaps increasing the availability of services.Many issues remain to be investigated systematically, including, among others, what services (assessments and interventions) require hands-on connections, what payment structures can accommodate new models of services, how professionals can work together in a virtual world, and what families will want.Regardless of the final answers to these issues, we believe that we should not simply "go back to normal"; rather, we should expand the range, nature and locations of our services for children with developmental disabilities and their families.

publication date

  • March 27, 2021