Interview with Oswald Föllerer about COVID-19

Interview with Oswald Föllerer about COVID-19


 - June 11, 2020

This is one story as part of the Voices of People with Disabilities during COVID19 Outbreak series

Names may have been changed to protect the individuals mentioned in the story.

This story has been prepared in collaboration with Inclusion International.

Oswald Föllerer is a self-advocate from Austria who works for People First Vienna. Here he talks about the impact of Covid19 on people with intellectual disabilities in Austria. Oswald is speaking to Ernst Spiessberger as part of the Show Without Barriers, a TV show which gives people with disabilities a platform to share their concerns with the general public and tell of their lives.

Here is the transcript of the video for those who can’t access the sub-titles:

Show Without Barriers

  • Ernst Spiessberger: Welcome to the 75th Show Without Barriers. The corona crisis is again an issue today and the consequences for people with learning difficulties. My guest today is Oswald Föllerer.
  • Oswald Föllerer: I am the Oswald, I work in the independent self-advocacy centre. I am working too in the monitoring office, I am deputy chairman there. Self-advocate spokesman for the Austrian Disability Council and advocate for people with disabilities. Internationally and in the steering group with the self-advocates.
  • Ernst: What is the situation like in times of Corona for people with learning difficulties? What is particularly difficult there?
  • Oswald: It is difficult for people with learning difficulties in the Corona period, that part is not know about technical equipment or is too expensive to stay connected with other people. Relatives or friends.
  • Ernst: So the technology is the hard part. Is there any help or support?
  • Oswald: No, there is no support.
  • Ernst: That means most people don’t have computers and access to the internet.
  • Oswald: No, for example, I know a person who has no internet access and no WiFi. Cannot Skype or Zoom. Has no internet connection and technically he’s not that talented either.
  • Ernst: There is no way to support the people? Can provide you with computers or technology?
  • Oswald: That is not possible, for certain reasons. For example, because of financial, because they can’t afford it. But I’ve always addressed. People with learning difficulties need support, you need assistance. This is not the case because it depends on care level three. Where I have emphasized again and again that this should be disconnected from care level three. Everyone with learning difficulties has access to assistance. The assistant can help him. Do something with him, draw or have a conversation.
  • Ernst: Or currently get a laptop or phone.
  • Oswald: Precisely.
  • Ernst: It’s not just about having a laptop at home. But you have to be able to install it. For example Skype or other programmes.
  • Oswald: Right, that’s why people need support.
  • Ernst: Assistance would be very important to emphasize this again.
  • Oswald: Very, very important. People are lonely, in the apartments.
  • Ernst: I can well understand. What else is important to mention. You said that assistance is very important, that people with learning difficulties have support, generally get support through assistance but now it would be very important.
  • Oswald: It is very important that people with learning difficulties have support in the Corona period. I don’t know how the people in the apartment are doing. Association office etc. Do you have any feedback?
  • Ernst: A lot of information comes from the ORF on how to look after yourself, must behave, must wear masks in stores. Does the information arrive? Is it understood?
  • Oswald: Yes, it is understood. Because there are pictograms above. That means if you go into business, there is an automat where you rub your hands with disinfectant. There are pictograms that you have to wear a mask. Everything is actually shown. It would be easier if it was written in easy language.
  • Ernst: So do the description again, in easy language.
  • Oswald: Understandable, yes.
  • Ernst: So the pictograms, the pictures, are very good that you understand that, but then again with easy language would be very important.
  • Oswald: Yes exactly, very important.
  • Ernst: I think we all agree that we both very much want time soon again before. That come back to normal.
  • Oswald: I hope that we can get back to normal. I wish everyone in the Corona period to stay healthy. Head up and we go on.
  • Ernst: If you liked the show, we would be very happy about a thumbs up. If you have any questions about the show, please do so in the comments. Look at you and look at the others. Stay healthy and see you soon.

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