Pázmány Viktória, Barabás Ágota, Jávorné Erdei Renáta:

A health promotion programme for young people with intellectual disabilities during the pandemic

2022/2 | #COVID #health #inclusion #intellectual disability #sport | DOI: 10.31287/FT.en.2022.2.4

Several dimensions of health were affected by the segregated lifestyle associated with the pandemic, such as emotional health, physical activity, and reduced social relationships, which became more pronounced in these isolated populations. In adolescence, the importance of peer relationships gradually grows, also for people with disabilities, and sustaining these bonds became increasingly problematic during quarantine. The difficulties caused by the use of infocommunication tools among young people with intellectual disabilities made it even more challenging to maintain contact.
In this study we present a good practise convenient for this purpose. The target group was adolescents in the Northern Great Plain region who were athletes with intellectual disabilities. Our goal was to continue the sports activities of young people with intellectual disabilities within the framework of the pandemic, and at the same time we wanted to maintain peer relationships in addition to physical fitness. We conducted focus group interviews among the target group, three times, with parental presence online, engaging a total of 15 young people with intellectual disabilities. The results showed that young people suffered from isolation, based on which a pilot program was launched. The project consisted of online trainings, which enabled, as an extra benefit, young volunteers studying at the Faculty of Health of the University of Debrecen to participate along with young people with disabilities. Increased social interactions emerged from online training. After six months, we repeated the focus group interviews among the research participants.
The results showed that the pandemic affected the pre-existing tight agenda for the target population, influencing all dimensions of health. In addition to maintaining physical fitness, participants improved their general well-being and adapted more easily to the difficulties caused by the epidemic.