COVID-19 as a crisis of confinement: What we can learn from the lived experiences of people with intellectual disabilities in care institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While the COVID-19 crisis has affected people all around the world, it has not affected everyone in the same way. Besides glaring international differences, disparities in personal and situational factors have resulted in strikingly dissimilar effects even on people within the same country. Special attention is required in this regard for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) who are vulnerable to marginalization and precarization during crises as concerns over safety and public health are likely to trump consideration for inclusion and care. This article explores the lived experiences during the pandemic of people with ID living in care institutions in the Netherlands. Particular attention is paid to the challenges involved in living through periods of confinement and separation in what may be called “vulnerable spaces.” Drawing from interviews with individuals with a mild ID who have been restricted in seeing family and friends through the closed access of group homes to visits from outsiders, as well as interviews with their relatives and support workers, the article considers the ways in which stakeholders have responded to these spatial policies and negotiated the meaning of living space in times of crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages11
JournalSpace and Culture
Issue number3
Early online date18 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • care institutions
  • confinement
  • COVID-19
  • home
  • intellectual disability
  • vulnerable space

Cite this