With National Disabilities Employment Awareness month last month, we can return to the weekly Concentrating on COVID sub blog for a few weeks. Even though we took a break on the blog from COVID, that doesn’t mean that it has been at the forefront of my daily life. COVID has taken the lives of so many that I knew the past month. It has been a trying time for everyone in my community, but it is teaching me that I need to be independent and begin to work on building my own life.
For what COVID has took and caused with its wrath, it has brought many joys to the table. In the past 20 months, we have seen the evolution of technology as much as a love-hate relationship. Everyone in the world has a relationship with it, it connects me to communities that I would have not otherwise have had access to. Yes, there are ways to connect to the world in some aspects, however if what you are looking for isn’t on the local palate and not easily accessible by easy transport, if a person such as I cannot do it at the moment, then having an online connection can open so many doors.
I understand that a virtual connection cannot totally replace a physical connection to something that we want to do. Additionally, I understand greatly the barriers for access and communication needs that individuals in indigenous and closed-type settings face. There is also a need to expand this technology further so those that want it, specifically in rural and low-income areas can access it if necessary.
COVID has taught us to recognize the barriers and lack of technology that many face in this great nation. Forcing schools for the end of the school year in 2020 has seen the need for this arise. While last school term many schools were on a hybrid format, the need is still there. And even today, the need still exists with COVID not out of the woods yet and having large gatherings unsafe without proper protection.
School needs weren’t the sole need for additional technology access as a result of the pandemic. The need to access medical and mental health services became prevalent and virtual tools were utilized and continue to need to be utilized due to the ease of access for those who face barriers to accessing these services in person and when one needs to remain in their homes as a result of illness or other issues.
Having the connection to a quality Internet connection can be a double edged sword. While it can have negative effects from obsession and addiction to certain items it can suffice. For the person who has no social connection outside of their home, it is an outlet for them to connect to the necessary resources and support they need to maintain their definition of wellness in their journey,
I hope that as we have been in this learning curve while fighting the COVID-19 spikes, curves and surges that leaders of all entities understand the need that when COVID-19 is a thing of the past that we take into consideration the needs of those who have barriers to accessing not only the technology, but other barriers within their own homes that prevent them from accessing the things they need to be well and enjoy, I know it has been a learning curve and there have been some challenges in the past 20 months. I also understand that it isn’t for everyone, but for those who experience barriers and issues to attending things in-person not just because of COVID. I know it doesn’t replace what is experienced in-person, but we must realize what we have been accustomed to in the past 20 months is a viable option for those who are less fortunate and unable to experience the things that people take for granted everyday