By Michael Rock:
While the challenges and dangers people with disabilities currently face amid the coronavirus pandemic have been widely covered, the more positive and hopeful stories are often overlooked.
In Tennessee, officials announced that they would begin to prioritize COVID-19 testing for 12,500 state residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who rely on public services.
Meanwhile, North Palm Beach, Florida’s Love Serving Autism, a nonprofit which provides specialized tennis instruction for people with autism, has modified its programming during the pandemic to accommodate remote lessons. Instead of tennis rackets, participants use wooden spoons and dustpans, with smaller balls, bean bags, and balloons replacing tennis balls.
In not too distant Tampa, Tristan’s Amazing Bites, whose owner, 23-year old Tristan Snapp, a trained chef with Down Syndrome, reopened following the coronavirus’ peak.
Chesapeake, Virginia is home to Beau Cowan, a motivational speaker with cerebral palsy. Throughout the crisis, he has taken to social media, using humor to support his followers while encouraging them to be thankful for the little things.
While the coronavirus pandemic has not been easy for folks with disabilities, it is clear from these stories and others that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Michael Rock is a New York City-based reporter and self-advocate with autism. A graduate of Brandeis University, his work has appeared in Kings County Politics, Chelsea Now, Our Town, Queens County Politics, and WhoWhatWhy.