Jordan, a 27-year-old man with Down Syndrome, lives with his mom in a town outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I met them through a stroke of great luck via Jordan's sister Taylor. In the fall of 2020, I was tasked with the assignment of presenting a side of the COVID-19 pandemic. I did a bit of mental meandering through how to tell that story, but kept coming back to the world of adults with disabilities. It is the theme I keep coming back to because I am often inspired by my brother Chase, who has Congenital Encephalopathy. His life experience is so different from my own, but I get a window into it through being so close to him. I wanted to tell the story of what it looks like for an adult with disabilities to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, Jordan attended in-person classes at The Arc as well as a nearby community college. He was actively involved in a bowling league, theater troupe, and cheerleading squad. During lockdown, all of his classes and activities were meeting on Zoom. Jordan thrives in social settings, and all the chatting he normally gets to do throughout the day also works as a secondary speech therapy. During lockdown, all of that looked very different. Individuals with disabilities experienced even more difficulty than neurotypical individuals during the pandemic in terms of education and the workforce. Much of their learning and growth is only possible in-person. Many lost their jobs because of the extra support needed to employ individuals with disabilities. Jordan is thankful that things are beginning to open up again as of late. Through following Jordan as he attended Zoom classes, exercised, went on walks, and spent time with family, I told the story of what it was like to experience the COVID-19 pandemic from Jordan's perspective.