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.
An estimated 1.1 million Americans are legally blind, meaning that they have central vision of 20/200 or less, or a visual field smaller than 20 degrees. Compared to other disability groups, Americans who are legally blind have a higher college graduation rate. However, they still face disadvantages when seeking employment: These students may not have the same early work experience as other students and may not have developed their job search or interview skills.
For people with disabilities, transportation can be a major challenge. People may be unable to drive a car, ride a bike, or travel on foot due to a disability. If transportation is not available, accessible, and affordable, people with disabilities may not be able to fully participate in daily activities. For example, people may have trouble getting to work, running errands, going to the doctor, or socializing without adequate transportation.
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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