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    Digital inclusion and participation of people with intellectual disabilities during COVID-19: a rapid review and international bricolage

    Chadwick, D, Ågren, KA, Caton, S ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9013-8721, Chiner, E, Danker, J, Gómez-Puerta, M, Heitplatz, V, Johansson, S, Normand, CL, Murphy, E, Plichta, P, Strnadová, I and Wallén, EF (2022) Digital inclusion and participation of people with intellectual disabilities during COVID-19: a rapid review and international bricolage. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 19 (3). pp. 242-256. ISSN 1741-1122

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    Abstract

    The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a rapid transfer of everyday activities to the online world. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become more embedded than ever in people's lives. This investigation addresses how this change has affected the lives of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). A two-step design was used. A rapid review was conducted on empirical studies published between January 2019 and June 2021. Search terms related to ID, ICT use and COVID-19. A qualitative international bricolage was also conducted corresponding to author nationalities. Data gathered from the review and bricolage were analysed separately using thematic analysis and relationally synthesised. Digital solutions to provide access to COVID-19 information and guidance seemed inadequate but were seldom empirically studied. Digital poverty, literacy and exclusion remain significant issues for people with ID internationally. People and their carers experienced reduced and removed service provision, loneliness and impoverished daily lives during the pandemic; amelioration of which was facilitated by digital solutions. One solution often used was videoconferencing. Prior experience of digital participation, adequate finances, connection, support and digital literacy mentoring for both people with ID and those providing services and support facilitated digital inclusion. Digital exclusion during COVID-19 was exacerbated by sociopolitical, structural, individual and support-related barriers. Although awareness of digital exclusion appears to have been raised, the extent to which this has led to action and change remains unclear. Despite digital exclusion and digital participation benefitting continuation of life, social and emotional well-being and autonomy, COVID-19 has not provided the impetus to eradicate digital poverty for people with ID. Governmental support, digital education, creativity and problem solving are required to enable people with ID the human right to be included in the digital world at this essential time and into the future.

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