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A new report estimates that the number of people with a disability across the globe has risen and has thus made the name of this newsletter out of date.
When I launched my media company and this newsletter last year, I chose the number 15 because it represented the global percentage of people with a disability. One-billion individuals, or one out of eight people, have some kind of physical, sensory or learning impairment. For the past decade, international agencies like the United Nations and World Health Organization used this estimate to highlight any number of concerns this community faces. But, that figure seems to be on the rise.
A WHO report released at the end of last year now puts that number at 1.3-billion. Math was never my strongest subject, but 1,300,000÷8,000,000= 0.1625, or just over 16-percent. And, yes… I asked my smartphone to do that calculation for me.
The Global Report on Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities shows that since the previous estimate was made in 2011, the worldwide population has grown by around one billion. Also, people with a disability are living longer than they had before. Disasters and diseases also contribute to this increase, according to the study.
I am not changing the name of this newsletter or my company to Lens16. I’ve already printed too many Lens15 business cards and I’m not throwing them away. While I don’t doubt the estimate has risen, it is just that, an estimate. What counts as a disability and methodologies vary from agency to agency as well as country to country. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that 25-percent of Americans have a disability and in Bangladesh, where I’ve done some reporting, the figure stands at 10-percent. These numbers are useful indicators, but don’t really reflect the true total of people with any one of the wide range of conditions that complicate their access to education, employment or any other resource.
On the Road
As previously mentioned, I am back on the global beat and headed to South Asia to start a seven-month stint as a Fulbright Scholar. My research project will focus on how climate change impacts people with a disability in India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and how emergency response systems can be made more accessible and inclusive. At the moment I am in Seoul, where I’ve called home for much of the past 20-years. There’s actually quite a lot going on with South Korea’s disabled community, including being blocked and sued for protesting in the subway. I regret not having the time to cover this story myself.
While I’m abroad, Lens15 will carry on its mission of covering disability news from New Jersey. We have some stories in the works, so please make sure you follow our YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok accounts.
A curated list of recent news stories concerning disability in NJ
NJ isn’t tracking school district compliance with COVID-related law for students with disabilities
‘Until it affects you’: Wheelchair users still battle to make NJ more accessible
Employment rates for those with disabilities remain too low in N.J., advocates say
CamCo Police Create Voluntary Registries for Autistic and Developmentally Disabled Residents
‘I can do more’ NJ kids with physical disabilities struggle to play, compete
NJ pairs more mental health specialists with police officers
Captioning isn't just for those with hearing loss anymore: Why gen z loves subtitles
Rutgers find shocking 500% increase in Autism in New York-New Jersey region
Racial, economic disparities skew New Jersey data on Autism, intellectual disability
Hands Up Silent Theatre
Parents Seek Special Ed Services Lost To COVID
Keeley Giblin edited this newsletter.