Cover of Impact, 34(1).

Exclusive research data on COVID-19 mortality rates among people with disabilities, insight from leaders in the disability field on the effect of multiple crises, and practical tips on maintaining education and well-being in the face of disaster are all available now in the just-launched issue of Impact.

“The last year has tested us in previously unimagined ways,” said Laura Stough, a professor of educational psychology and assistant director of the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University. “This edition provides unique perspectives about people with disabilities experiencing emergencies and crises and represents remarkable additions to the disability literature.”

Stough served as an issue editor for the Impact Special Issue on Crisis Management for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, along with Mary Sowers, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, and Renáta Tichá, co-director of the Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education at the Institute on Community Integration. Impact is published by ICI and the Research and Training Center on Community Living and Employment, in part under grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each issue is dedicated to a topic of importance to the disability community. This issue’s editors also wrote a feature article on the inequities people with disabilities face during and in the aftermath of disasters and crises, from the pandemic to natural disasters to social unrest. 

Other articles include new research on the COVID-19 case-fatality rate for people with IDD, written by Margaret A. Turk, a professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Scott Landes, associate professor at Syracuse University. Longtime disability community leader Kim Keprios contributes a deeply personal story about the death of her brother Mike during the pandemic. Inclusion International’s Sue Swenson contributes an introduction to a series of articles about the lessons learned from historical disasters. Georgetown University’s Tawara Goode delves into the intersection of disability, race, and ethnicity during the pandemic. Authors in the field of special education write about distance learning during the pandemic, and a group of nurses who specialize in caring for patients with disabilities share their personal frustrations with the medical community’s response to the pandemic. Several self-advocates offer their own stories of living through crises, among other articles.

“The voices of the disability community are diverse, and yet reveal interrelated experiences. The contributions in this edition provide a multi-layered and intersectional portrait,” Stough said. 

“My hope is that we borrow from the learnings represented in this edition to further strengthen the disability community, and find new methods of providing inclusive and accessible services in emergency and crisis management.”