About 10,000 infants, children, and youth in the United States are considered “deaf-blind.” Deaf-blindness is an uncommon and complex disability. People who are deaf-blind have both visual and hearing impairments that are significant enough to require special supports beyond those used by people who are blind or deaf only. Some people with deaf-blindness also have other disabilities which may impact their physical or mental health, or their ability to communicate as well as increase their need for specialized supports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in five children or youth may at some point have a serious emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or conduct disorder. They may receive services from clinicians, social workers, and other mental health professionals. “Wraparound” is a comprehensive, team-based program providing individualized services to children and youth with serious mental health conditions and available in most states.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is brain damage resulting from an external force, such as a fall or car accident. TBI can be mild, moderate or severe. People with TBI may have trouble with social problem-solving, which is the process of interpreting social cues and responding appropriately in social situations.
Young adults with disabilities are less likely to find employment than young adults without disabilities, and those youth with disabilities who are employed may earn less than their peers without disabilities. Unemployment and under-employment rates are especially high for young women with disabilities and some ethnic minority youth, such as African Americans.
Youth with disabilities have access to a variety of services throughout their school years and as they transition to adulthood. These services include special education, transition supports, vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, and social and health services. After high school, however, these services can become fragmented and harder to access. Compared to youth without disabilities, research has shown that youth with disabilities may be less likely to continue with their education or pursue employment after high school.
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