Thursday, October 09, 2008

Drowning in The Perfect Storm

The idea that people with developmental disabilities will suffer greater than the general public in these tough economic times frightens me to no end. I found the following on It spells it out pretty well...

Americans are being pinched by the perfect storm of bank defaults, financial takeovers, foreclosures, high gasoline prices, and ever tightening credit. If you believe that the middle-class is getting hit hard by this financial crisis then you must believe that the special needs community is being slammed.

According to an April 2008 Wall Street Journal article entitled When Crisis Hits the Disabled, it states for example that about 80,000 people with developmental disabilities nationwide are on waiting lists for various services to help them live in the community. While spending for these programs has increased annually, it's not growing fast enough to meet the demand according to Charlie Lakin, Senior Research Associate at the University of Minnesota. The Wall Street Journal goes on to state that options have narrowed for the disabled and "may narrow further as budget-strapped states try to hold down spending and the federal government looks for ways to control spending for Medicaid the main source of funding such programs."

Even during good economic times, the special needs community faces heavy challenges in dealing with employment and education. Only 40% of disabled persons are employed after high school compared to 65% in the general population and only 19% go onto post-secondary education compared to 65% in the general population and most live near the poverty line.

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