11 Things the Public Does Not Know about Disabilities

1. About 5% of the total US population experiences a developmental disability. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 220) About 15% of the world’s population, or over a billion people, experience some form of a disability however, and that number continues to rise. (10 facts on disability, 2013)

2. In 2007, Every twenty minutes, a child was diagnosed with autism. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 220)

3. About 70% of adults with disabilities rely on their families and friends for assistance, as they are unable to care for themselves and are unable to receive assistance from the government for their needs. (10 facts on disability, 2013)

4. Willowbrook State School was a institution for people with intellectual disabilities founded in  the late 1940s that was made famous in an expose of the mistreatment of those with disabilities. (J.Vassello, personal communication)

5. In 1996, only 22% of BSW and MSW programs offered training on disabilities. Of those programs, only 4% had a specialization for working with people with disabilities. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 234)

6. Women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence compared to women who don’t have disabilities. (Women, children and violence)

7. People with disabilities are four times more likely to report being mistreated by  healthcare professionals. (Disabled people and Healthcare)

8. In 2013, only 17.6% of people with disabilities were employed. (Disability Statistics: Facts & Statistics on Disabilities & Disability Issues)

9. Only about 45 countries have laws against anti-discrimination towards those with disabilities. (Disability Statistics: Facts & Statistics on Disabilities & Disability Issues)

10. In the UK, 180 hate crimes against those with disabilities occur everyday. (Facts and statistics)

11. Adults with disabilities are twice as likely to not have received a formal education compared to adults without disabilities. (Facts and statistics)


  • DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books
  • J. Vassello. Personal communication. April 12, 2016.

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