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  • COVID-19 Manuals Prepared with the Participation of PWD

  • Welfare, Health & Security News SMG 1690

    Pain caused by COVID-19 is different for each individual in different situations. As for persons with disabilities (PWD), they face different kinds of difficulties and inconveniences according to their disability. Organizations of PWD parents suggested that in this prolonged COVID-19 situation, there should be a customized manual for PWD to deal with the infectious disease.

    Reflecting their needs, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has prepared 10 types of manuals for PWD to respond to the infectious disease—tailor-made for each type of disability (physical, visual, hearing, cognitive, and development) and facility (residence, daily care, welfare, vocational, and housing).

    The manuals have been prepared by PWD and contain rules for life and living as well as important information to prevent COVID-19 infections when leaving and returning home.
    If you are a family member or welfare worker for the visually impaired who require sensory perception, you should sterilize the surface of objects that are often touched by human hands, such as doorknobs and railings.

    Rules for living, such as wearing a mask, can be checked out on videos as well. Cognitive impaired persons who find it difficult to put on a mask themselves should use an assisting device to connect the straps to put the mask around the head and slowly pull it down. It is recommended that hearing-impaired persons who have to read lips to communicate purchase “lip view” masks with a transparent acrylic surface.

    The manuals also contain support details for PWD who are relatively more vulnerable in responding to COVID-19. Although it is a principle to be alone during self-quarantine, persons with development disabilities who find it difficult to get around alone can receive vehicle-related support to their place of quarantine as well as support during their self-quarantine period as well.

    The SMG announced that it has created 23 videos and 10 types of manuals for PWD to respond to the infectious disease, and uploaded them on its official website and YouTube channel (Seoul Advocacy Agency for Persons with Disabilities). The manuals will also be distributed to 25 autonomous districts and welfare centers for the disabled.

    It is significant that a total of 29 individuals, including the disabled and non-disabled from age groups of 20s to 60s, participated in making the manuals and videos. From September to December last year, they worked together in all processes from planning the content through making illustrations to shooting videos.

    The SMG explained that the project of making the manual had threefold effects, including pursuing a public jobs project to create jobs for PWD and unemployed vulnerable groups facing economic crises due to COVID-19, reflecting the voices of PWD in the manuals, and improving the public’s understanding and perception of PWD.

    The manuals introduce behavioral instructions for disinfection in daily life, including how to go out and return home, use public transport, and use accessible facilities. They are made in the form of posters, calendars and books to be used on different occasions.

    Above all, a textbook was made for users of daily care facilities to educate users about disinfection against COVID-19 for persons with development impairment. The SMG will advise facilities for the disabled to use the manual.

    In addition, the text manuals were made into videos for higher accessibility for those with visual and hearing impairments. In the video, the content of the manual is read out loud, with sign language and subtitles. The video and audio manuals are available on YouTube (Seoul Advocacy Agency for Persons with Disabilities).

    The videos include how to wear a mask for the cognitive impaired, introduce “lip view” masks and where to buy them, and indoor sports and games for relieving stress. Additionally, the poster was made with QR codes that are linked to each video, enabling users to conveniently watch the videos they want to watch.

    The SMG announced that although the public jobs project was a new trial worked out together by the disabled and non-disabled for a short time of four months, it could lead to the making of the manuals and significant results of improving the perception towards the disabled.

    When surveyed by Professor Ji-hye Jeon of Incheon National University, who was in charge of project consultation, participants’ perception of PWD improved by 1.5 from 2.42 to 3.92 (out of 5).

    The impressions after participating in the project were categorized into four phrases: “from misunderstanding to understanding PWD,” “creating jobs with PWD,” “more interest in PWD and the society,” and “thankfulness to the SMG.” The SMG explained that this suggests that projects for raising awareness about PWD should not only take the forms of education and lectures, but also activities done together by the public.