About Disabilities

Approximate Numbers


  • 650 million people—10% of the world’s population—live with a disability
  • 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries.
  • 90% of children with disabilities do not attend school.
  • In developing countries, 80% to 90% of adults with disabilities are unemployed, in industrialized countries the figure is between 50% to 70%.
  • Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse.

United States

  • 57 million Americans have a disability
  • 8 million people have intellectual disabilities

The film’s Community Engagement Campaign

Policy and legal change are essential to the disability movement, but hearts and minds must evolve to truly see change and acceptance.  Monica and David’s story allows people to connect on a human, emotional level through the universal nature of love.  The Community Engagement Campaign translates that emotion into change, by motivating individuals, communities, and leaders to help create opportunities for adults with disabilities.  David, Monica and other adults have the right to lead ordinary lives—to work, love, and be independent—but we need to create a meaningful place for them in our society.

Employment Opportunities for Adults with Disabilities

Employment for adults with disabilities—Good For Business
Being inclusive and socially-minded can also be profitable.  92% of consumers feel favorable toward companies that hire people with disabilities.  87% prefer to give business to such companies.  Hiring employees with disabilities can: reduce staff turnover therefore reducing costs, access new markets, and improve productivity through innovative and effective ways of doing business.

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The Walgreens Model—Workplace Inclusion & Accessibility
“This is a business, not a charity”, says Randy Lewis of Walgreens.  A top executive whose son has autism, Randy dreamt up a fully-accessible distribution center in Anderson SC, and saw a 20% increase in productivity.  The company plans to open more centers following that design, which has made work easier for both employees with and without disabilities.  96 employees in Anderson, approximately 40% of its workforce, have physical or cognitive disabilities.  Everyone earns the same pay and works alongside one another. Walgreens’ goal is to fill 10% of their production jobs with people who have disabilities.

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Preferred Language Guide

Language is constantly evolving and there is often confusion on how to address a person with a disability, or how to write or talk about related issues.  So we’ve outlined a few suggestions.

Person First Language

Referring to the person first ensures that disability does not define a person, but that each individual’s humanity does. For example:

“an adult with Down syndrome”, NOT “a Down syndrome adult”

“a person with a disability”, NOT “a disabled person”, nor “the disabled”

“a person with autism,” NOT “autistic”

Other helpful notes

People “have” a disability, they do not “suffer from” it and are not “afflicted by” it.  Nor is a person “wheelchair bound”, or a “victim”.

Global Facts from UN Enable

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Sources for this page: ODEP, UNEnable, JAN, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Walgreens.com, EARNWorks, & EIN SOF Communications, National Down Syndrome Society, United Cerebral Palsy, Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, and San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Disability.