• Leslie Kate Thornton

My Response to Coronavirus

When I was asked to write a response to the coronavirus, my senses heightened, and I was excited to share my take. The world was panicked; we were all afraid for our lives, but the disability community has persevered, and we have adapted, like we always do. I love how we do that! 

This coronavirus hits hardest on immunocompromised populations and people are always surprised when I tell them that many persons with disabilities have lowered immune systems.

A cold isn’t just a cold for us.

Our disabilities often make it harder to recover from illnesses, which makes this virus challenging. When I tell you to 'back up' or 'don’t touch me', please respect that. This is not out of irrationality, but out of safety. Our concerns are very real, and the consequences can be devastating to some of us.

Another complication that has affected our community is hand washing. Normally this is not a big deal, but as the coronavirus is highly transmissible through hand-to-face contact, this has been a challenge for many of us. A large percentage of people with disabilities can’t wash their hands. This is caused by certain aspects of their disability or lack of accessible facilities. Most people don’t think about that! Which is another reason to respect our space when we ask you to take a step back or refrain from touching us.

The coronavirus has also caused a mass buying hysteria! Medical and everyday supplies were bought and out of stock for weeks, which made critical equipment unavailable to many people with disabilities who depended on them.

I have a feeling that wearing a mask will still be “in” for a while. 

Perhaps the most impactful consequence of COVID-19 is the lack of services available. We struggle for access to services during normal times and this crisis has made our lives a lot harder to acquire vital resources.

People with disabilities rely on services like home healthcare workers and grocery delivery services. Because of the coronavirus, some of these services are restricted, not operating at all, or being overworked by the general population, limiting our ability to utilize them.

Through all this, I hope we learn how to do life better. It has been interesting how we “adapt” to our surroundings. Adapting is what our community is greatest at.

I’ve seen my family and friends conquer every challenge thrown their way. It always gives me pleasure when we “Wow!” the world. We might feel ignored now, but in time, the world will see how we persevered through it all. 

Lastly, I'd like to remember the amazing world-changers who have lost their lives during this crisis.

April Dunn was an advocate who worked with the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs, in Louisiana. She also served as the chairwoman of Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council. On June 3, 2020 HB 833 of 2014, AKA “April Dunn Act” was signed into law. This law establishes alternative pathways for people with disabilities to obtain a high school diploma.

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” ― B.B. King 

Despite being thirteen years old, Charlotte Figi was a pioneer of the medical world. She proved to the world that CBD has medical benefits and encouraged research for the use of CBD oil for epilepsy relief. She passed on April 9, 2020 due to the novel coronavirus. Ya’ll know there’s nothing I love more than to prove the world wrong. Charlotte’s life was a testimony of trying new things and living to the fullest. 

“A spider’s web is stronger than it looks. Although it is made of thin, delicate strands, the web is not easily broken.” – E.B. White 


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Progressive Abilities Support Services