Challenges of the Disabled: Problems they Face

Even with the passage of many disability rights laws in recent years, the problems and challenges of the disabled are staggering!

Bullying, accessibility, inclusion, lack of appropriate services, poverty, and safety are just a few of the issues that affect the quality of life for many people with both physical and developmental disabilities.

Below are just four of the challenges of the disabled (in a nutshell) and the issues that many cope with on a daily basis

1. Social Issues-

  • Far too many people with disabilities are ignored, overlooked, and forgotten at best. At worst they are mocked, ridiculed, bullied, mistreated, and abused.  Tragically, many disabled individuals live in fear. They live lonely, isolated lives, cut off from the mainstream of society.
  • Parents and schools need to teach acceptance as well as kindness, understanding, and inclusion! Supervised Inclusive sports and other school and community activities are a great place to start teaching positive interactions between the disabled and their typically developing peers!

2. Financial Issues-

  • In the US a person with is a disability is twice as likely as their non-disabled peers to live in poverty.  Government disability entitlements such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the only source of income for many people with special needs. In my opinion, this system is inadequate and designed to keep the disabled poor and destitute.
  • Less than 1 in 5 people with disabilities are employed.  This may be because work places are not accessible, employers can’t or won’t provide accommodations, and employers still harbor negative attitudes toward the disabled.
  • Individuals receiving SSI are limited as to how much money they can earn or save. If they earn or save too much, they risk losing their much needed government entitlements!
  • Sadly, developmentally disabled individuals that are able to work are legally paid less than minimum wage to do so.

3. Safety Issues-

  • Disabled children are three times more likely to be sexually abused than their typical peers!
  • Disabled abuse victims are also less likely to get the help they need after an assault, because they can’t  tell what has happened to them.
  • As many as 83% of developmentally disabled adult women and 32% of developmentally disabled adult  men are likely to be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
  • Only 3% of those assault cases are likely to be reported.
  • Most assaults crimes against both children and adults are often inflicted by a care giver, acquaintance, or service provider, making it likely that the assaults will continue.
  • The disabled are also twice as likely as others to be victims of other violent crimes as well.

4. Accessibility to services- 

  • Availability of services to improve the quality of life for the disabled can be abundant or nearly non-existent, depending on the area. Funding, public support, public attitudes, attitudes of politicians and lawmakers, and location can make all the difference.  Rural areas may have great programs and policies in place, but tend to lack the man power to actually implement them.

Check out my posts, Top 5 States With the Best for the Disabled, The 5 Worst States for Disability Services, and Updated 5 Best and Worst States for the Disabled to see how your state rates in services for the disabled.

For more information please visit The National Disability Rights Network, Disability Rights Advocates, and

Check out the following affiliate links to books on disability rights and other issues the disabled face:

*A version of this post was originally published in September 2016.
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