Disability Facts and Realities
There are many people in the United States who live with disabilities. In fact, there are more people who have a disability than there are people who have filed a disability claim with the U.S. government for Social Security, Medicare, or some other program or who have filed a claim and have been denied for a variety of reasons. I am one of the people who has multiple disabilities yet has been denied services.
Although I am about to include some data from the U.S. Census Bureau, it is unclear to me how the data was accumulated.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 there were approximately 56.7 million people living in the United States with some kind of disability. That’s over 17% of the population. To learn more, CLICK HERE.
These disabilities include:
- Communication difficulties such as with seeing words in print, hearing normal conversations, or understanding speech. This can include being deaf, blind, or just having deficits in these areas.
- Having difficulty moving arms or legs.
- Having difficulty walking, running, or participating in sports.
- Having difficulty with or unable to perform functioning activities including using stairs, lifting/carrying, or grasping small objects.
- Uses a device to get around such as a wheelchair, cane, crutches, or walker.
- Has difficulty taking care of everyday tasks such as bathing, moving around the home, dressing, and eating, or doing housework.
- Learning disabilities, developmental delay, and other invisible disabilities such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, or autism.
- Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, senility, or other memory issues.
- Behavioral, mental, or emotional conditions that can interfere with everyday activities including depression, anxiety, concentration issues, and trouble coping with stress.
But this is not all of it. Listed above are common disabilities, but there are many more that are not common, and many more that are invisible to the outsider.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an invisible disability, yet it can affect so many different parts of the body because the brain is the control center.
TBI is more common than we think. According to the CDC, an estimated 5.3 million people in the United States live with a permanent Traumatic Brain Injury. To learn more, CLICK HERE. It can happen when a small child falls, banging the head when landing or it can happen during an automobile accident. The causes of a TBI are varied and each TBI is different.
Here’s the reality, not all disabilities are visible. Just because a disability cannot be seen does not mean that it is not there. It also does not mean that the person with the condition is not suffering or not experiencing symptoms.
It means that 17 out of 100 people that you know have some kind of a disability. If you know 50 people 8-9 of them have some kind of a disability. If you only know 25 people, it means approximately 4 of them have some kind of a disability.
It also means that 1.6% of the population lives with a TBI. That means for every 100 people you know, 1-2 of them have a TBI whether you know it or not.
What do these statistics tell us? That there is a great likelihood that someone you know or love has a disability you might not now about. It is also possible that someone you work with – past, present, or future – could have a disability without being aware of it.
Living with a disability is hard enough even when others notice, but living with disabilities that others are not aware of is even harder.
The more we understand disabilities, the greater the likelihood that we will have a more satisfying relationship with a person with disabilities, and we may even be able to help them on their journey towards recovery.