People with intellectual disabilities need more support: Social planning office

People with intellectual disabilities are less satisfied with life, more often lonely, and participate less in society, social and cultural planning office SCP concluded in a study into to what extent people with this type of disability succeed in participating in society. Some of them need more support than they are currently getting, the SCP said, NOS reports.

The Netherlands has around 1.2 million residents with an intellectual disability. Many of them have difficulty organizing their household and daily activities themselves, using public transport, filling out forms, and handling their finances. 40 percent of adults with an intellectual disability also lack resilience or income, and cannot count on work or the presence of a social network of friends and family. As a result, their problems pile up.

According to the SCP, the government and social organizations expect a too high degree of self-reliance from this group of citizens. And insofar they received support and activities, these disappeared during the coronavirus crisis. Many people with intellectual disabilities also work at the bottom of the labor market, with flexible contracts – making them vulnerable to losing their jobs in the crisis. This had major impact on their daily structure, social contacts and income, the SCP said.

People with a mental disability should receive more support, for example by having access to a life coach, the planning office said. Such a coach can help navigate the more difficult parts of daily life, such as finding work and building a social network. The government and healthcare providers can also help by simplifying rules, application procedures and forms. Employers can play a role offering people with intellectual disabilities a workplace.