Throughout April we have reached out to our member organisations around the world to identify the challenges they, and the people that they support, are facing due to COVID-19. We will use the feedback to establish how we can best support our members and the global Down syndrome community during these difficult times.

This is what we have learned and how we are helping.

Availability of accessible information about COVID-19

19% of respondents reported that there is no accessible information available in their country.

What DSi are doing to help:

  • DSi is collecting and sharing resources in different languages and easy read or plain language
  • With the support of our members, DSi will look to develop internationally applicable resources
  • DSi is planning to run webinars for members on making easy read resources

Availability of personal support systems outside the family

41% of respondents reported that personal support was either reduced or no longer available

Some respondents described creative ways to continue providing personal support while following social distancing guidance, using phone calls or technology.

What DSi are doing to help:

  • DSi is sharing new activities and approaches that organisation members are developing in response to the pandemic
  • DSi is running webinars discussing how to adapt activities – e.g. options for virtual support

Availability of other services specifically for persons with Down syndrome

67% of respondents reported that these services were either reduced or no longer available

What DSi are doing to help:

  • DSi is working with the international disability community and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) to ensure a disability inclusive response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Do you think persons with Down syndrome can access medical care on an equal basis with others in your country during the COVID-19 pandemic?

51% of respondents reported concerns that people with Down syndrome may not receive equal access to medical care in their country

Many of these said they were worried about discrimination against persons with Down syndrome in medical responses to COVID-19.

What DSi are doing to help:

  • DSi supported IDA to write a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) advocating for actions to address discrimination in medical responses to COVID-19 on the basis of disability. This resulted in response from the Director General of WHO calling on governments to ensure this discrimination does not happen.

Challenges that our organisation members are facing as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic

Some organisations reported a lack of digital infrastructure in their country and that the people they support do not have access to technology

72% reported that their organisation is having to function at a reduced level or not at all

71% reported financial issues due to reduced funding and/or donations

74% reported that they are unable to continue with existing activities and projects

What DSi are doing to help:

  • DSi is looking at making resource templates that can be translated and adapted for local context

For information and resources related to people with Down syndrome and Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit our COVID-19 response pages: