Disability: Who counts?


Loretta Claiborne: no pigeonholes please

LORETTA CLAIBORNE was born partially blind and could not walk or talk until she was four. Officials recommended that she be put into an institution—a common treatment for America’s “defectives” in the 1950s. Her mother refused. Today Ms Claiborne has 26 marathons and a black belt in karate to her name. She travels the world to speak for people like herself.Disability—marked by an international day of action on December 3rd—can mean being blind, deaf or wheelchair-bound. But far more disabled people have such common chronic conditions as pain in the lower back (the greatest global cause of years lived with a disability). American labour law also counts high blood pressure and asthma as disabilities.Measuring pain and misery is hard. Over 1 billion people—one in seven—have some kind of disability, according to the World Health Organisation. But that may be on the high side. America’s Census Bureau, which has been counting the disabled since 1830, found 57m in a survey of economic status in 2012. That was nearly one in five, of whom half said their disability was severe. A national housing survey…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/international/21591615-defining-disability-trickyand-measuring-it-even-harder-who-counts?fsrc=rss|int

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