Insights: COVID-19 and its impact on people with disabilities

While there has been nearly wall to wall coverage of COVID-19 in the media, one voice has been notably missing: that of people who live with disabilities. In order to amplify the voices of those with disabilities, our community participated in a brief survey about how COVID-19 is affecting us. In this edition of Fable Insights, as a member of this community, I will highlight some of that data, and some of the anonymous quotes provided by our community members. We hope that this perspective will provide you with some food for thought about how the 19% of North Americans who live with disabilities are having their lives changed by COVID-19.

 “The globe is slowly shutting down and isolating us even more than we already are. The mentally disabled and physically disabled have always been isolated in some respects, and now are afraid of becoming even more so.”

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When it comes to accessibility, we think that lived experience is often missing from the conversation. To bridge that gap, Fable produces an occasional newsletter called Insights. Subscribe and you will receive the latest perspectives on accessibility and usability from assistive technology users.

‘Flattening the curve’ is vital context

Full access to data has always been understood as a vital right by people with disabilities. Today, it is apparent that access to data can be a matter of life and death. How is it possible to decide what an appropriate level of action might be, without access to local maps of community spread? How can anyone decide if the government is making the right policy decisions, without access to the graph of the curve, and being able to understand how a set of actions will change that graph?

“As charts depicting the spread of Coronavirus and modelling how to flatten the curve are seen and discussed worldwide with blind and visually impaired peop