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Unemployment rates are said to be around 10% in the United States right now, but among certain groups the rates are higher, including people with disabilities.
An economist for the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire thinks that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities hovers around 17.5%. This doesn’t even include those who have completely given up looking for a job, because they are not counted in these figures. Surveys in the past have shown that most people with disabilities definitely want to work, but after looking for long periods of time and finding nothing, they give up.
There are many hurdles, including the fact that many employers believe that these workers are not qualified, or that the accommodations needed to get them ready for work would be too expensive (not so – accommodations are free or usually no more than $500)
Some people are preparing for an early retirement, thinking about selling their houses, and moving somewhere with a low cost of living. They are also really worried about health insurance, which without an employers help can be an insurmountable cost for someone with ongoing health concerns.
If you are disabled, have you had trouble finding a job recently?
Athletes with intellectual disabilities are allowed back to compete in the paralympics in London 2012! The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) voted recently to reinstate the athlete’s status after the Spanish basketball team in the 2000 games was found to be cheating and not have disabled team members.
Two organizations, the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability (Inas-Fid) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have been working together to come up with the criteria to reintroduce athletes.
Instead of taking the team’s word for it in London, the committee will be giving tests called “sports intelligence tests” to classify the athletes. These tests include reviewing the athlete’s medical records, then giving them a sports specific test so they can move on in the process.
President of the Inas-Fid, Bob Price, said “I am delighted with the outcome of the vote. Even though they themselves did nothing wrong, intellectual disability athletes have been excluded from the Paralympic Games and other IPC-sanctioned competitions.
This resolution brings this unfortunate episode to an end and reintroduces intellectual disability athletes to their proper place within the Paralympic family.”
Researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have reported that MRI’s of patients who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in childhood show that pediatric MS is more aggressive and causes more brain lesions than those diagnosed with MS in adulthood. However, data has shown that patients with pediatric onset MS develop disabilities at a slower pace than patients with adult onset MS.
Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, associate professor of neurology, stated that “Patients with pediatric-onset MS have three times as many relapses annually than patients with adult-onset disease, which suggests there is greater disease activity in this population.” Guttman also stated that “the average time to reach the secondary progressive phase of the disease is longer in patients who develop MS in childhood than in adult onset MS.”
Data in this study supports the need for early diagnosis, as well as for therapeutic intervention in pediatric MS patients.
Partial funding for this research was from grants donated by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Children’s Guild foundation of Buffalo.
Derek McGinnis was wounded in Fallujah, Iraq, on November 9, 2004. In a new book he chronicles his experiences, a story of traumatic brain injury, loss of his left leg above the knee, and how he learned to run again with a prosthesis. He also gives advice to veterans who are facing life with chronic pain. McGinnis says “it is OK to have mental pain, it is OK to have chronic pain, there are methods to have a productive life.” His 200 page book also covers treatment options, exercise, and emotional wounds of war.
After years spent in rehabilitation at naval and veterans hospitals, McGinnis now has his mobility back. He runs again with a flexible prosthetic that he wears for races while competing with Semper Fi, a team that raises money for wounded soldiers and their families. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of resources and services that have helped me recover” he said “I want to do whatever I can to help others.”
Along with studying for his masters degree in social work, McGinnis works for the American Pain Foundation as an amputee outreach advocate.
More at the Miami Herald: Wounded Vet Shares Strength