Professor Stuart Todd joins study into impact of pandemic on people with learning disabilities

Dr Stuart Todd

University of South Wales researcher Professor Stuart Todd has joined with other experts across the UK on a study of the experiences of people with learning disabilities through the coronavirus pandemic.  The project has been funded by UK Research and Innovation.

Working with a team of researchers from Manchester Metropolitan, Warwick, Bristol, Cardiff,  Kent, Glasgow, London, and Ulster universities, the project will involve talking directly to people with learning disabilities to understand the challenges they have faced. Over the next year, the team aims to speak to 1,000 adults with a learning disability, and to 500 family carers or paid support staff, on three different occasions. Prof Todd is leading the Welsh arm of the study along with Dr Steve Beyer from Cardiff University.

“Before the coronavirus pandemic people with learning disabilities were more likely to have worse health, poorer and narrower social lives, and less money than people who don’t have learning disabilities,” Prof Todd said.

“We now know that people with learning disabilities were more at risk of dying as a result of coronavirus than other people, especially at a younger age.  Now we need to know how the pandemic affected the lives of  people with learning disabilities, and advise on how professionals and governments can improve the situation.”  

To do this in Wales, the team will talk directly with 200 people with learning disabilities and 100 family carers and paid support staff.  To ensure the success of the study in Wales, the researchers are working with the All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers of People with Learning Disabilities, Learning Disability Wales, and All Wales People First.

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