Children with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the containment response. Their caregivers must now adapt to increased stressors such as lack of access to needed therapies, medical supplies, and nursing care. Prior to COVID-19 these families were already marginalized, and this has only worsened during the pandemic. As a vulnerable population, children with disabilities have not been the focus of much discussion during the pandemic, likely because the disease disproportionately impacts older individuals. Nonetheless, children with disabilities should be a focus of evaluation and intervention to mitigate the negative consequences of COVID-19 and the resulting containment strategies. Their needs should be included in future crisis planning, as well. In order to raise awareness of pediatric rehabilitation professionals, health care administrators, policy makers, and advocates, this manuscript provides a discussion of the following topics: the immediate and ongoing impacts on children with disabilities and their families, the ethical concerns and implications of triage protocols for scarce resources that consider disability in their scoring systems, and optimizing medical care and educational needs in the time of COVID.
Houtrow, Amy, Debbi Harris, Ashli Molinero, Tal Levin-Decanini, and Christopher Robichaud. "Children with Disabilities in the United States and the COVID-19 Pandemic." Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine (January 2020): 1-10.