There is a difference between a developmental delay and a developmental disability. The difference is based on the age of the individual. Developmental delays generally happen in children, while disabilities generally apply only to adults. The age where this chance in terminology takes place may be anywhere in the 18-21 age range based on local requirements and definitions.
Facts About Individuals With Developmental Disabilities
1. 15% of children aged 3-17 have at least one or more developmental disabilities. That’s 1 in 6 children that are born today.
2. In the general population, developmental disability rates may be as high as 2.5%.
3. Since 2000, there have been 3 different classification systems in place that measure disability rates in the population, with the latest change coming in 2011.
4. The number of children with autism has increased nearly 300% in the past 12 years. Part of this is because of changes in how autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed.
5. The United States has seen a 17% increase in the amount of developmental disabilities that have been diagnosed in children since 2000.
6. Up to 7.7 million people may have at least a mild developmental disability that affects their life in some way.
7. West Virginia has the highest developmentally disabled population in the 50 states. When territories are included, however, Puerto Rico has the highest population with over 21% of the population having at least one developmental disability.
8. The current unemployment rate for people with a developmental disability who have looked for a job at least once in the last 12 months: 33.5%.
9. 82.2%. That’s the overall unemployment rate for this population demographic. It means that there are 1.2 million people in the US who could perform at least a basic job and have a barrier in place preventing that from happening.
10. 1 in 10 people with a developmental disability is not currently working, but is actively looking for work right now.
11. For those that have full-time employment all year, the average salary of someone with a developmental disability is $36,400 in the US. Connecticut has the highest wages, with an average about $50,000.
12. $37,300. That’s the annual average household income for a home with someone that has a developmental disability.
13. Small businesses that employ someone with a developmental disability may qualify for tax credits of up to $10,000 if they have less than $1 million in revenues.
14. More than 28% of those with a developmental disability are living in poverty right now in the US. For those in the nation’s capital, the poverty rate is 40%. In Puerto Rico, the poverty rate is 50%.
15. More than 5.3 million people with at least one developmental disability are living in poverty right now.
16. Despite often qualifying for Supplemental Social Security Income [SSI], only 1 in 5 people with a developmental disability are collecting it. Rhode Island has the largest collection rates with 1 in 3 people collecting SSI.
17. Adults with developmental disabilities were more likely to lead sedentary lifestyles and 7x more likely to report inadequate emotional support than people without a disability.
18. Those with developmental disabilities are significantly more likely to report being in fair or poor health.
19. 1 in 4 people with a developmental disability will not graduate from high school.
20. Only 61.7% of adults with developmental disabilities reported that they could see their family members whenever they wanted.
21. Transportation or staffing limitations were cited as barriers to spending time with friends by or for 18.1% of those with developmental disabilities.
22. 11.5% of women with developmental disabilities reported that they have never visited a gynecologist.
23. People with developmental disabilities were more likely to have a diagnosis of diabetes than people without disabilities.
24. 26.8% of women with developmental disabilities age 40 or older in a recent study reportedly had never had a mammogram.
25. 1 in 2 people with a developmental disability has chronically high blood pressure.
26. 1 in 3 people with a developmental disability say that they haven’t had any kind of exercise in the past 30 days.
27. 24.0% of these adults report that they have no one to talk to about personal things and often feel lonely.
28. Among adults who are developmentally disabled, as many as 83% of women and 32% of men are victims of sexual assault.
29. 40% of women with physical developmental disabilities have been report that they have been assaulted.
30. Half of the people with developmental disabilities who are assaulted will be victimized a minimum of 10x over the course of their life.
31. 1 in 4 perpetrators of a crime against an individual with a developmental disability is the individual’s caregiver. 1 in 3 will be from a family or foster family member.
32. Only 3% of sexual abuse cases involving people with developmental disabilities are ever reported.
33. More than 38% of people with developmental disabilities have at least one missing diagnostic code on their health file that can limit their treatment options, funding availability, and other needed services.
34. The life expectancy rates for someone with a developmental disability are equal to that of the general population. For those with severe or profound developmental disabilities, however, the life expectancy rates are reduced by 25% on average.
35. More than 25% of family care providers are over the age of 60 years and another 38% are between 41-59 years. Unless mandates for funding are in place, the only supports a family may receive is SSI.
36. Over 115,000 families are currently on residential waiting lists for independent living support.
37. Just 5% of funding that is available to those with developmental disabilities can be used for family supports.
38. About 3% of the population has an IQ of less than 70.
39. 64% of the children that are maltreated every year have at least one developmental disability. There is a direct correlation between the severity of the disability and the likelihood of abuse occurring.
For tracking purposes, however, the statistics on the developmentally disabled population also includes delays that are found in the 3-17+ age demographics. This is done to provide a more complete picture of the complex issues that individuals with these disabilities face. Taking people first, the statistics help to understand risk factors, discover causes, and even where to direct research efforts.
People first – that’s the emphasis. The difference between a “developmentally disabled person” and a “person with a developmental disability” is subtle, but profound. The first description says that the disability defines the person. The second description says that the individual is in control, not their disability.
What Can Be Done To Change These Facts?
The first step is to remove the institutional programs that many people with developmental disabilities are forced to endure. Many states are closing their institutions or transforming them into service programs, but progress is still slow. Individuals with severe or profound disabilities often need 24/7 care, so a hybrid home care and institutional care program is typically needed to provide the best results.
The second step is to stop treating people with developmental disabilities as if they are different or have a contagious disease. Although accommodations may be needed for certain jobs, people with developmental disabilities are employed for an average of 3.5 years when given a full-time job, have near perfect attendance, and can do just as good a job as any other employee when given training. Instead of working in piece-rate or supervised programs that pay less than the minimum wage, these folks deserve good jobs that can help them increase their quality of life.
The final step in the process is to create the conditions for early interventions. The developmentally disabled rates for children are higher than they are for adults because with early interventions, children are able to overcome the issues that their disability may bring so they don’t have to settle for living on SSI or live a lonely life on their own in a closed room.
Something Has To Happen Soon
More than half of the homes that are caring for individuals with a developmental disability have homes with people approaching their senior years. Waiting lists are growing larger instead of smaller. There needs to be more resources available to help care of these individuals. When 57% of the national budget going to defense every year in the US and only a few million dollars needed to solve many of these problems, it becomes a question of priority.
People are greater than their developmental disabilities. These facts and statistics prove it. We just need to make it a priority to provide this population with the services it needs so that proper health, socialization, and job opportunities are made available. If everyone deserves the right to freedom and pursue happiness, for those with developmental disabilities, chasing a dream is something that is often very far out of reach.