Staying Indoors Due to COVID-19: How People Who Are Not Disabled May Learn about Mobility and Reasonable Accommodations and Become Allies of Those with Disabilities

Main Article Content

ARAVINDA BHAT

Keywords

COVID-19 lockdown, attitudinal barriers, accessible infrastructure, reasonable accommodations

Abstract

 


This essay argues that lockdowns imposed by governments in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic starkly foreground the perennial problems of mobility and accessibility faced by individuals with disabilities. Since non-disabled people are experiencing what it means to be prevented from moving out of doors freely, they should at long last be able to reflect with greater sensitivity on issues facing persons with disabilities such as inaccessible roads, buildings, offices and recreational facilities, and attitudinal barriers in employment. Thus, being in the pandemic may assist those who are not disabled to become allies of persons with disabilities. I draw on three sets of sources to make my case: the books, Planet of the Blind: A Memoir and Have Dog, Will Travel, authored by Stephen Kuusisto (1998, 2018), an American poet and memoirist with a visual disability; two newspaper articles from India; and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the Covid-19 pandemic. In the course of the argument, the essay calls for greater respect and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in our society.


 

Abstract 83 | WORD Downloads 24 PDF Downloads 67

References

Bates, P., Friedman, A., Kouraimi, A., Lukas, A., Papolu, S., and Welch, C. (2021). Living on Loss of Privileges: What We Learned in Prison. In Kristin Ann Hass (Ed.), Being Human during COVID (pp. 64–71). University of Michigan Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3998/mpub.12136619.7
Bhargava, Y. (2020, April 3). COVID-19: Google data shows drop in movement in public areas. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/covid-19-google-maps-offers-user-location-data-to-health-officials/article31247892.ece
Bolt, D. (2021). (Ed.). Metanarratives of Disability: Culture, Assumed Authority, and the Normative Social Order. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Das, A. S., Bonny, F. A., Mohosin, A. B., Rashid, S. F., and Hasan, M. T. (2021). Co-exploring the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihood of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh. Disability Studies Quarterly, 41 (3). https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v41i3.8377
Kurian, T. (2020, May 1). Indian companies should have adopted work from home before coronavirus for persons with disabilities. Scroll.in. https://scroll.in/article/959661/it-took-a-pandemic-for-india-to-adopt-the-work-solutions-people-with-disabilities-have-long-sought
Kuusisto, S. (1998). Planet of the Blind: A Memoir. London: Faber.
Kuusisto, S. (2006). Eavesdropping: A Life by Ear. New York: Norton.
Kuusisto, S. (2018). Have Dog, Will Travel. New York: Simon.
Mampatta, S. T. (2022, May 12). Employment struggles continue after pandemic for those with disabilities. Business Standard. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/employment-struggles-continue-after-pandemic-for-those-with-disabilities-122051101386_1.html
Patel, S. (2020). Our Lives as Birds (L. Ducasse, Trans.). In Ilan Stavans (Ed.), And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again: Writers from Around the World on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Restless Books. (Original work published 2020).
Piepzna-Samarasinha, L. L. (2022, October 1). Abled-Bodied Leftists Cannot Abandon Disabled Solidarity to “Move On” From COVID. Truthout. https://truthout.org/articles/abled-bodied-leftists-cannot-abandon-disabled-solidarity-to-move-on-from-covid/
Schur, L. A., Ameri, M., and Kruse, D. (2020). Telework After COVID: A “Silver Lining” for Workers with Disabilities? Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 30, 521–536 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-020-09936-5
Sins Invalid. (2020, March 19). Social Distancing and Crip Survival: A Disability Centered Response to COVID-19. Sins Invalid. https://www.sinsinvalid.org/news-1/2020/3/19/social-distancing-and-crip-survival-a-disability-centered-response-to-covid-19
Villoro, J. (2020). The Parable of the Bread (C. Coombe, Trans.). In Ilan Stavans (Ed.), And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again: Writers from Around the World on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Restless Books. (Original work published 2020).
Wong, J., Ezeife, N., Kudla, A. et al. (2022). Employment Consequences of COVID-19 for People with Disabilities and Employers. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-021-10012-9
World Health Organisation (WHO). (2023, January 25). WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. https://covid19.who.int/