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This paper reviews issues and considerations about the delivery of child disability health services in the context of the global pandemic, and reflects on colleagues’ experiences and lessons learned.

Let’s not go back to ‘normal’! Lessons from COVID-19 for professionals working in childhood disability.

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This paper reviews issues and considerations about the delivery of child disability health services in the context of the global pandemic, and reflects on colleagues’ experiences and lessons learned.

Synopsis of resource

Purpose: The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost all aspects of our lives, and the field of childhood disability is no exception.

Methods: This article is based on an invited lecture by the first author at a conference organized by the other authors and their colleagues in May 2020.

Results: The first author offers his own experiences and perspectives, supplemented by comments and observations contributed by many of the 9000 attendees at this talk, as curated by the second and third authors. The basic messages are that while life for families of children with developmental disabilities, and for service providers who work with them, is significantly altered, many important lessons are being learned.

Conclusions: The comments from participants support the currency of the ideas presented, and encourage childhood disability professionals to reflect on what we are learning, so that we can seize the opportunities they afford to do things differently–and we believe better–moving forward.

Key learning outcome

  • The COVID pandemic has upended everyone’s lives.
  • Experience suggests that despite wrenching upheaval there have been many effective adaptations to move beyond ‘business as usual’.
  • Colleagues who listened to the talk on which this paper is based contributed valuable perspectives to the ‘discussion’.
  • The bottom line is that we must seize the opportunities imposed on our work to expand the scope of what we do, and how we do it.
Peter

Author

Peter Rosenbaum, M.D., FRCP (C) Professor of Pediatrics since 1984, and held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair 2001- 2014. In 1989, Peter co-founded the award-winning CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. He and CanChild have received numerous award for their work from around the world.

Peter has held > 85 research grants and contributed to > 350 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He has been an invited lecturer and keynote speaker in >30 countries, has worked with almost 80 graduate students, and has been a graduate supervisor or committee member at several universities.