Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Households and Individuals with Disabilities: You're Not Alone!: "People with Disabilities Are the World's Largest Minority Group, the Only One Any Person Can Join at Any Time." (1)

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Households and Individuals with Disabilities: You're Not Alone!: "People with Disabilities Are the World's Largest Minority Group, the Only One Any Person Can Join at Any Time." (1)

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In 1967, there were more than a quarter of a million individuals with intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities (ID/DD) in U.S. state institutions. For more than four decades, changing social policies, favorable legislation for people with disabilities, and class-action legal decisions, which delineated the rights of individuals with ID/DD, have led to deinstitutionalization (i.e. mainstreaming, establishments of community oriented group residences and enhanced personal family residential settings) and closure of many state run large facilities. (2) The reality is that there are tens of mil-lions of persons with disabilities now living in our communities.

"Approximately 56.7 million people living in the United States had some kind of disability in 2010. This accounted for 18.7 percent of the 303.9 million people in the civilian noninstitutionalized population that year. About 12.6 percent or 38.3 million people had a severe disability. " (3)

* "9.3 million reported having a sensory disability involving sight or hearing.

* 21.2 million reported having a disability that limits their ability to engage in basic physical activity such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting or carrying.

* 12.4 million reported having a physical, mental or emotional condition that makes it difficult to learn, remember or concentrate.

* 6.8 million reported a physical, mental or emotional condition that makes it difficult to dress, bathe or get around inside the home.

* 18.2 million reported their disability makes it difficult to venture out-side the home."

The impact on persons with disabilities and their families depends upon the type, severity and number of disabilities faced by the individual child or adult, as well as the wide range of family conditions and circumstances, including single or dual parent arrangements, poverty, employment circumstance, siblings and other family members with disabilities. The consequences of these inter-related situations at times may seem insurmountable--at least from the perspective of the individual members of the family. Nevertheless, there are many, many U.S. families facing variations of these same circumstances that have to be navigated and surmounted in an effort to secure need-ed health, education and social services.

"Of the 69.6 million families in the United States, more than 20 million have at least one family member with a disability." (4) The range and success of community based programs for families with individuals with disabilities depends, however, on the availability of government and private agency financial support services, and the participation of community health providers who 1) are convenient and accessible to the deinstitutionalized individuals, and 2) are trained and willing to provide the needed care that heretofore had been provided by state employees in the protected environment of a state institution.

YOU'RE NOT ALONE!

The concentration of the population in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) is reflected in the great number of persons with a disability in household settings in these areas. However, there are more individuals with many types of disabilities in household settings in the non-central city sections of MSA than in central city areas. Among individuals with one or more disabilities in household settings:

* 14.6 million reside outside of MSA.

* 22.3 million reside in the Southern Region of the nation -- the region with the greatest number of individuals with each of a series of disabilities. (see Table 1)

Table 1. Estimated number of noninstitutionalized individuals
(in 000s) with disabilities living in household settings by
types of disability, residency location and the U.S. South
Region (national region with greatest number of individuals
with each of the disabilities) in household settings: 2011 (5)

Disability  Metropolitan  Metropolitan       Outside      U. … 
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