The Forgotten Fifth

Twenty percent of all Americans live with a disability. These disabled Americans are mostly invisible in our society – The Forgotten Fifth. They face discrimination and segregation daily in ways that are hard to believe. They don’t even have rights that you and I take for granted.

As of the middle of 2019:

  • Earlier this year, the American Dental Association changed their ethics guidelines to require dentists to serve people with disabilities.
  • Currently, Congress has not decided to move on a bill to make it illegal to use physical and mechanical restraints and seclusion on kids with disabilities in schools.
    • This occurs today in most states and affects hundreds of thousands of kids.
    • Seclusion can mean locking a kid in a dark, padded phone booth sized room for hours.
    • California just banned restraints and seclusion in late 2018.
  • The FDA is finalizing a ban on electric shock devices for use on kids with disabilities, not because they are inhumane, but because they “aren’t effective”.
  • People with disabilities may not be eligible for getting organ donations because of their disabilities.
  • People with disabilities are restricted from getting married or getting jobs for fear of losing their disability benefits.
  • Boys  with developmental disabilities are 5 times more likely than other boys to be victims of sexual assault.
  • Girls – 8 times more likely to be victims of sexual assaults.
  • 49% of sexual assaults against youth with disabilities are by paid support staff.
  • Employment rate for all disabilities is <34%, developmental disabilities is < 14% (California)
  • The same law that gives you and me minimum wage protection explicitly excludes people with disabilities.
    • Average wages (in California in 2012, the last year for which there is published data)
    • 3.1% earned $9.50/hr
    • 3.7% earned $6/hr
    • 93% not working or in “sheltered” services

For Education in California

Fewer than 14% are performing at or above grade level in English, <11% in Math.

For students with significant disabilities 35.3% graduation rate, 22.8% “certificate of completion”, 41.8% drop out or age out of public education.

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