Saturday, December 08, 2007

More Canadian Disability Statistics

This is from a second article I came across regarding disability in Canada. Apparently, there are 4.4 million individuals in Canada who report having a disability, either a physical, developmental, or mental disability. And, like many industrialized nations with aging populations, the ranks of the disabled are growing. In Canada, there are now three quarters of a millon more individuals with disabilities than just five short years ago. Overall, a little more than fourteen percent of the Canadian population reports having some form and level of disability.

How do they define disability in Canada? In some sense, the same way it is defined in the U.S.; that is, an inability (to one degree or another) to engage in activities of daility living (in the social security disability process, ADLs, or activities of daily living are taken into consideration because restrictions in ADLs are thought to relate to a potential inability to maintain competitive employment).

The Canadian statistics indicate that, for children, disability conditions constitute mainly asthma and autism. I wasn't surprised to read that asthma was at the top of the list. As a disability examiner for social security, I very frequently saw asthma listed on applications. However, autism was not an impairment that I saw quite frequently, or even with some regularity. Also, its worth mentioning that I frequently saw seizure disorder - epilepsy, attention deficit disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder listed frequently on SSI claims (minor-age children apply for SSI, not social security disability) and these impairments are not mentioned as being at the top of the Canadian list.

The Canadian statistics indicate that, for working-age citizens, chronic pain is at the top of the disability list, while for seniors mobility limitations are at the top of the list (I would assume that arthritis figures into this).

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