More than 400,000 Americans and about 2.5 million people worldwide have multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. MS is a chronic condition affecting the central nervous system, which usually starts between the ages of 20 and 50. It can cause symptoms such as fatigue, trouble walking, vision problems, or problems with thinking and memory. These symptoms may not be obvious to other people. People who are employed when they develop MS may face difficult decisions regarding whether, and how, to tell their supervisors and coworkers about their MS.
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.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects how people communicate and process information. People with ASD may have trouble expressing themselves verbally, responding to social cues, or adapting to changing situations. These challenges may make it difficult for youth with ASD to find and keep jobs in the community. Many youth with ASD may benefit from training in job-related social skills, as well as individualized on-the-job support from a job coach to help with behavioral or social challenges.
People with mental health challenges have conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Adults with mental health challenges face a variety of barriers, and are less likely to find and keep jobs, or complete college degrees, when compared to adults without disabilities. Young adults in their 20s who have mental health challenges may have difficulty meeting important milestones on the path to adulthood such as identifying their career goals or enrolling in college classes.
Las personas con discapacidad visual tienen dificultad para ver, incluso con gafas o lentes de contacto, o son incapaces de ver en absoluto cuando son ciegos. Las estadísticas muestran que los estadounidenses con discapacidades visuales en edad de trabajar tienen tasas de empleo mucho más bajas que sus compañeros sin discapacidades. Las investigaciones anteriores han encontrado que las percepciones incorrectas de las personas que son ciegas o con discapacidades visuales contribuyen a esta tasa de empleo baja.
People with visual impairments have difficulty seeing, even with glasses or contact lenses, or are unable to see at all when they are blind. Statistics show that working-age Americans with visual impairments have much lower employment rates than their peers without disabilities. Past research has found that inaccurate perceptions about people who are blind or visually impaired contribute to this low employment rate.
Individual placement and support (IPS) is an evidence-based supported employment program designed to help people with mental health disabilities find and keep jobs. In an IPS program, employment specialists work with clients in the community mental health setting to develop job goals, find job placements, and receive on-the-job supports. IPS programs may be run by state departments of mental health or vocational rehabilitation or they may be run within community mental health centers.
About half a million Americans are treated for burn injuries each year, and many of these burn injuries occur in the workplace. A burn injury may result from a fire or contact with hot liquids, electricity, or chemicals. People may experience physical limitations after a burn injury that may make it difficult to return to work. Studies have shown that up to one in four burn survivors become unemployed and do not return to work after their injury.
People with disabilities may encounter barriers to obtaining competitive employment, meaning full- or part-time work in an integrated setting that pays at least a minimum wage. These barriers may include inaccessible work sites, a lack of transportation, and health challenges that make it difficult to keep a traditional work schedule. Self-employment is an alternative that can reduce these challenges by giving people with disabilities more control over their work setting and schedule.
Working-age Americans with disabilities often face more challenges getting health insurance than their peers without disabilities. They may have more complex healthcare needs, along with lower incomes that may prevent them from accessing private health insurance plans. Medicaid programs provide essential health insurance coverage for people who are low income, including many Americans with disabilities. Medicaid is funded by federal and state governments and administered by individual states.
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