COVID-19 has the potential to derail the progress made in numerous areas from working women, low-income households, and especially the disabled. While much progress has been made since the UK Government passed the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995, the pandemic is likely to hinder much of the progress made for the disabled due to economic uncertainty, vaccine rollout delays, rise in COVID-19 deaths, and mental health concerns worldwide.
For the 1.5 million Britons with a learning disability, the challenges are all too real. In fact, according to the November 2020 Public Health England report, those with a learning disability are over six times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the rest of the population. This grim report highlights that those with learning disabilities are in greater need of assistance for coping and understanding lockdown restrictions, understanding information on social distancing best practices, recent health guidelines, and communications from universities. Additionally, the rates of social isolation and loneliness are incredibly high among those with a learning disability, and those at university will turn to their institutions for support academically and for their mental health.
In the 2018/19 academic year, 16.7% of students attending an English university or college reported having at least one disability, according to HESA. With such a large percentage of students with a disability, universities are in a distinctive position to provide support for students to empower them to succeed while at university and beyond. And with a third lockdown underway, the pressure is increasing for universities to swiftly adapt to ensuring that students with a disability are properly supported with assistive equipment such as screen readers, support for managing ADHD, autism counseling and support, among many others.
In a post for the World Economic Forum Susannah Rodgers, a disabled woman with a prostatic leg, wrote that the pandemic will continue the progression in which a, “Disability is all too often an after-thought and not mainstreamed enough into thinking and planning, regardless of the industry. I am not sure people really understand the transformational impact that interventions, programmes, funding opportunities, education and technology (amongst other things) can have on the lives of people with disabilities globally.”
With Symplicity Access, educational institutions can effectively help with all of the necessary services students with disabilities and learning difficulties need. With our user-friendly platform, universities are able to simplify the delivery of reasonable adjustments to disabled students for a better user experience, higher accountability, compliance and transparency across the institution plus increased operational efficiency and savings for the university. Additionally, through its intuitive, mobile-friendly student interface, it’s easy for disabled students to find how they can get the support they need. This allows for effective communication among students, teachers, staff, and family members to ensure that disabled students whose academic coursework has been impacted by COVID-19 can get the critical support they need to succeed academically and beyond.