The impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities in Latin America

People with intellectual disabilities and their families have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their pre-existing exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination has been amplified by the pandemic.

During the crisis, people with intellectual disabilities have been excluded from virtual learning, lost access to supports and services, been unable to access social protection measures, and have been denied accessible information about COVID-19.

Regional Co-operation

The experience of exclusion during the pandemic is consistent across Inclusion International’s entire network, but some regions are facing a disproportionate impact of the virus and unique barriers in their specific context.

Regional networks have come together to identify, document, and advocate against the discrimination and exclusion that people with intellectual disabilities are facing in their region, including Pan-African advocacy efforts and the recent European COVID Impact report. There is still little documented about the experience of self-advocates and families during COVID-19 in Latin America.

There is a need to identify the key challenges facing people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Latin America during the pandemic. Our network identified the need to document the experiences of self-advocates and families in the region, and to develop a regional advocacy strategy for inclusive pandemic response.

Inclusion International’s members in Latin America are now engaging in a project to collect experiences, as well as quantitative and qualitative data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons with intellectual disabilities through Regional and National consultations.

The Latin-American Project

This project aims to collect the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Spanish-speaking Latin America.

Through consultations with self-advocates and families in 10 countries, we will identify the key barriers to inclusion in pandemic response, collect information about the COVID-impact, as well as good practices in the region.

The countries involved in this project are: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia.

Experiences of exclusion and any good practices from the region will be documented in a Spanish and Portuguese-language publication about the impact of COVID. The network in the region will use this report to develop regional advocacy messaging that aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).