Disability Awareness Month
OCTOBER IS DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH
Did You Know?
Almost everyone will develop physical or other disabilities at some point. We are all "temporarily abled". Many disabilities, including learning disabilities, diabetes, and psychological disabilities, are invisible.
Depending on how disability is defined, between 15 and 20 percent of US citizens have some limitation due to a disability-between 38 and 52 million people. More than 7 million of us use devices to compensate for mobility impairments: 4.8 million use canes, 1.8 million use walkers, 1.6 million use wheelchairs, 1.7 million use back braces.Among working-age people with disabilities who do not work, 39.7% live in poverty. Among working people, in 1995, people with disabilities earned on average only 72 cents for every dollar earned by non-disabled people.
People with disabilities are four to ten times more likely to be assaulted, robbed, or sexually attacked than people who are not disabled. One recent study found that more than 70 percent of women with developmental disabilities are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, which represents a 50 percent higher rate than the rest of the population.
Why Celebrate It?
- To learn about an important group that is struggling for full inclusion in US society.
- To understand why laws were created to protect people with disabilities, and how they work.
- To appreciate the great and small contributions people with disabilities make to our society.
- To help improve attitudes and eliminate stereotypes that hold back people with disabilities.
- To learn to separate people from their disabilities, so accomplishments are recognized without an inappropriate focus on disability.
- To recognize that we are all just a heartbeat away from becoming disabled through illness or accidents.
What Can I Do?
- Learn about different disabilities and how they affect people differently: read, ask questions, and respect differences.
- Support the efforts of people with disabilities to lead full lives, work at rewarding jobs, and participate in all aspects of life.
- Correct and challenge stereotypes and slurs in media, advertising, and everyday conversation.
- Support local groups working for diverse multicultural institutions.
- Volunteer in college classes as a note taker, tutor, or reader for a student with a disability.
Who Can Help?
Gavilan's Accessible Education Center, (408) 848-4865; web site: http://www.gavilan.edu/student/aec/index.php
Social Security Administration, (408) 842-4485
Department of Rehabilitation, (408) 842-1345
San Andreas Regional Center, (408) 846-5140
South County Mental Health, (408) 663-2344