16 October 2020
The British Psychological Society has released new guidance to support those working with vulnerable adults with additional needs as they move out of shielding.
For people with complex needs such as learning disabilities, autism spectrum conditions or those living with dementia, lockdown has led to a range of challenges and difficulties including increased anxiety, social isolation and changes to their care.
But, as restrictions lift and guidelines continue to change, people with additional communication needs might struggle to understand the new rules.
People with intellectual disabilities, autism or dementia, may feel unclear about the expectations around how they, and others, need to behave to ensure they remain safe.
Some of their regular activities and support networks may still not be available, or they may not have access to online versions. Some may also struggle to follow safety precautions outside of lockdown, such as social distancing and wearing masks.
Roman Raczka, chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology in England, said:
“The nature of hidden disabilities may mean that individuals’ support needs are not always recognised, which can lead to inappropriate, unhelpful or distressing responses from others in the community.
Many of the people who are coming out of shielding may face a new range of challenges.
Support needs to be considered from an individual, service and community level to ensure a smooth transition which works for everyone.”
The advice to professionals includes: