What is Disability Awareness?
How Many People Live with Disabilities?
According to the CDC, there are approximately 61 million people in the United States, or nearly 1 in 4 people, living with disabilities. Those living with disabilities can experience many effects, in all areas of their lives. Without education and campaigns to raise awareness, people living in the US may continue to live unaware of the challenges and effects people living with disabilities may face on a daily basis.
Historically, individuals living with disabilities in the United States have been stigmatized, segregated or denied choice in educational opportunities, employment opportunities and living in community settings.
Raising awareness for people with disabilities is critical in continuing to ensure each person regardless of their level of need receives the care and support they need in their community.
What is Disability Awareness?
Disability awareness and education brings barriers and potential negative attitudes individuals living with disabilities may face to the forefront. Over the last decades in the United States, there have been many changes and progress has been made to end prejudice that surrounds disabilities.
But, more change needs to occur to end ongoing barriers and negative attitudes individuals with disabilities face.
Sample Supports staff believes the more we educate, advocate and raise awareness the better and more inclusive our communities will become.
Sample Supports Mission
At Sample Supports we know each individual has unique needs and we work with teams and communities across Colorado to ensure the success of each individual in our care. Sample Supports works to recognize people for their abilities, not their disabilities.
Our programs and staff work each day to ensure individualized services and supports developed to meet the needs of each person. Our teams work with communities, schools, police departments and many other organizations to educate on disabilities and disability services. Through this outreach, we partner with our communities to ensure inclusivity.
Most importantly, we support each individual to be their own best advocate. There is no service delivery without the individual themselves being in full control and power of their wants and needs. Person-centered practices are critical to ensure each person with disabilities is treated with dignity, respect, and self-worth.
The Why Behind the Work
We believe that every individual, regardless of ability or disability, deserves the same opportunities everyone else has. We do not shy away from hard work to ensure each individual is successful, fulfilled and happy living in their community.
At Sample Supports, we recognize that historically those living with disabilities have faced many hurdles and are committed each day to breaking those barriers. Our goal is to offer a network of support and connection to help individuals feel empowered to take the lead in their own choices and outcomes.
The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
Interested in learning more? Find out more about our mission and service options at www.samplesupports.com.
Why is Autism considered a spectrum condition?
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is considered to be a spectrum condition due to the variety of symptoms and severity of these symptoms that can occur. We know that ASD occurs across the board of genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic status. Every person diagnosed with ASD has to meet diagnostic criteria according to DSM-5 — a diagnostic tool used by a variety of professionals during assessments.
To meet that criteria a person must have persistent deficits in each of three areas of social communication and interaction plus at least two of four types of restricted, repetitive behaviors. The impact of these deficits is then determined by the severity. Some people may have more severe repetitive behaviors, and less severe communication deficits while others may have severe deficits in both.
With such a wide variety of potential impacts it was determined that ASD is a spectrum. In short, a spectrum disorder really just means that two individuals with the same diagnosis can have a vastly different presentation and experience.
Why is Autism a spectrum?
Prior to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) update in 2013, Autism was broken out into different categories including Asperger's, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disability.
Autism was known as the more “classic” version with extreme delays and severity of behaviors. Asperger's was classified as the “mild” version, presenting as someone who had particular interests and less communication difficulties. Pervasive developmental disability was reserved for those who had even “milder” symptoms or did not hit all of the criteria, but still had challenges in communication.
During the update process, the psychologists who develop the DSM-5 decided that the best fit for these diagnoses were to put them together as one spectrum disorder instead of three separate entities in order to best capture the wide variety and overlap in symptoms that we see.
When is Autism diagnosed?
Typically Autism is diagnosed in early childhood. As children progress and miss certain developmental milestones, or start exhibiting behaviors such as fixation on certain topics they may be referred to a specialist for testing.
Since Autism is a spectrum the level of severity also determines whether or not someone gets the proper testing and it may go undiagnosed for a long time. This is especially common in females, who tend to have diagnoses later on in life then males.
Who does Autism affect?
Autism can affect anyone, it has been seen consistently across genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status.
However we see more boys than girls being diagnosed with Autism as a trend that is not yet fully understood by the scientific world. This could be due to the trend we mentioned earlier about females being diagnosed with ASD later in life, but does not fully account for the discrepancy.
Are Autism and ADHD related?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and ASD can look very similar to each other. Children and Adults with either condition can have problems focusing, be impulsive or difficulty communicating. Although they share many of the same symptoms, the two are distinct conditions.
ASD can affect language skills, behavior, social interactions, and the ability to learn. ADHD impacts the way someone’s brain grows and develops. Someone can have both ASD and ADHD co-occurring, and they are often diagnosed alongside each other.
What are the causes of Autism?
It isn’t known what “causes” ASD yet, however many scientists believe that it is a combination of biological, environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to the development of ASD. These all increase the risk of developing autism but increased risk does not mean cause. Not everyone with these risk factors will develop ASD, but they have been shown in cases of ASD.
Can Autism be cured?
The process of receiving a diagnosis can be overwhelming to the individual and those around them. Often people deem a diagnosis as a limiting factor or indicator that a person will have less opportunities for a typical life trajectory. This leaves people searching for a cure or solution — while it may be challenging to receive a diagnosis, autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities are do not mean a person cannot live a full and successful life.
With that, Autism cannot be “cured” — but with proper intervention we can support individuals with ASD in improving their social and communication deficits or other behavioral needs.
Learn more about all that our behavior program can offer here! https://www.samplesupports.com/behavior-program.html