PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Coronavirus concerns can bring confusion to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who might have a difficult time understanding change in their environments and routines.
Drum class usually takes place weekly at The ARC Tampa Bay. But not lately, because of coronavirus concerns.
"We can't do very many activities right now, we're very limited," says self-advocate, Steven Angel.
Limited, compared to routine day programs and activities Steven is used to, like sports, arts and crafts, and learning trade skills.
"I'm watching TV and we've all been playing games," said Steven of his current situation.
Change because of coronavirus concerns can be difficult for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to comprehend.
"Sometimes people with disabilities are more sensitive to changing of routines or environments or their support staff, and again that presents additional challenges," said Dr. Craig Escude', President of Health Risk Screening, Inc. "And sometimes that comes out as an adverse behavior simply because the person is trying to communicate what they're feeling."
Steven says he longs for his family.
"I'm just missing my parents. I can't wait till this is all over with," he said.
He also misses his job at a local movie theater.
"I'm the greeter and ticket-taker," Steven explained.
Dr. Escude' says it's important to consider the health of this population.
"Especially if they have more severe or more profound levels of disability, they're more likely maybe to have restricted lung disease, have difficulty taking in deep breaths or clearing their lungs," Dr. Escude' explained.
The doctor says that means more risk for a serious illness if they get coronavirus. He also says the health of caretakers' support networks, is a concern too.
"Should their support network become ill or need to be quarantined, then they're going to lose the help that they need to function in life," he said.
Steven says he and his support network are doing well. He is looking forward to getting back to his routine and especially excited about a few things.
"Going back to work and back to my day program and going to see my parents again."