Helpful Information About Disabilities

How many people in Canada live with mobility disabilities?
In Canada the national average is 14.5%. In Ontario the average is 16.5%. A bare minimum total of 2 million people in Ontario alone have a disability and the majority have a physical disability or mobility related challenge. 8 in 10 people with a disability use a mobility device, including canes or walkers..

What are the major categories of disabilities and degrees of severity and causes?
Most common issues reported are mobility, flexibility and pain. There are three realities of physical disability: 
  1. Visible (wheelchair); 
  2. Not-so-visible (severe arthritis, chronic lung or heart condition) not immediately obvious, but can impact the ability to climb stairs, stand long periods of time or even move across rooms; 
  3. Aging factor those people aging into a physical disability. Aging and disability tend to go hand-in-hand.

What is the Age profile of people with disabilities?

The average is 4.4% for people ages 15 to 24. The middle age brackets is at 16% and  65plus  43%. Add the increasing population of senior, with physical disabilities and the total numbers are 2.5 to 2.8 million people. 

Do people with disabilities live in Urban or rural areas?
People with disabilities live everywhere in both urban and rural areas. However, the heavier urban concentration is due primarily to the availability and types of services and amenities available. At this time 45% of people with disabilities are living within Toronto region.

How do disabilities differ from the present at birth compared to those an acquired later in life?
If a person is born with a disability (cerebral palsy, down-syndrome, brain damage at birth, etc.) the individual is going to age with that disability. An acquired disability is often the result of an accident, trauma, stroke or later-in-life diseases.As a note, brain injury, accidents causing disabilities, trauma, and strokes are on the increase.

Is a mobility disability always visible?
Not everyone with a physical disability uses a wheelchair. Some conditions like multiple sclerosis are not always visible, but equally restricting in mobility.

Is a mobility limitation the same every day and throughout the day?
Many disabilities can be episodic in nature and many challenges will alternate from being of minimal challenge to severe restriction within one day or week. 

To what extent do people with mobility disabilities have other kind of disability as well?
The fastest increasing incidence of physical disability is multiple disabilities. A stroke can result in brain injury, coupling neurological physical disabilities.

If you see a person get out of a car with a disability parking permit, and they walk with no cane mobility device, are they cheating?
Episodic disabilities can create extreme fatigue and can fluctuate during the day. Being able to park closer to a building will allow the individual more ease in walking or carrying objects to the car.

How should someone ask if someone has a mobility disability?
We are all the enabler and should be there to help achieve the maximum effective participation of that individual. Focus on how to more effectively accommodate the individual as opposed to focusing on the disability. “Are there any specific accessibility considerations I should be aware of?” Is there any assistance you might require?”

What is attendant care?
Attendant care is a personal support service for people with physical disabilities. This service can includes personal grooming and washroom activity, assistance at medical appointments, household management, or going to an event.

Who needs this support?
Anyone at any age living with a disability that has restrictive dexterity, mobility or flexibility needs some support.

Where does someone get attendant care from?
March of Dimes Canada is among the largest in Canada, plus others. In Ontario alone, we deliver services to around 68,000 households requiring attendant care, plus one-off service and event bookings. 1-800-263-3463

What stereotypes are common about people with mobility disabilities?
Sadly, there are many stereotypes about people with disabilities such as: assuming that the individual also has a lower mental capacity; that they cannot lead productive lives, with careers family and travel; that people are confined to wheelchairs; that the Individual always need help (like anyone else, just ask); that the person is an object of pity and personal tragedy; or that the person is brave, courageous or inspirational due to living a life of disability.


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