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Disability Defined

A disability can take many forms and be mental or physical. People with physical disabilities are often denied access to public transportation, equal treatment in the workforce, and common courtesy by people in everyday situations. People with mental disabilities can find themselves the brunt of jokes, relegated to menial, low-paying jobs in their adult life, and denied their civil liberties by uninformed individuals in their community.

Disability Stats

  • The total number of disabled people in the U.S. is estimated to be 54 million - almost one-fifth of the nation's population.
  • Disabled adults are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled adults.
  • 82% of people with spinal cord injuries are male, the most common injury age is 19 years old.
  • Before 1990, there was no comprehensive legislation guaranteeing civil rights for disabled people.

Statistics taken from:
National Organization on Disability, 2000.
The Urban Institute, U.S. Department of Labor, 2001.
National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities, Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990.

Disability Resources

Achilles Track Club
42 West 38th Street, Suite 400
New York, NY 10018
212-354-0300 fax: 212-354-3978
Achilles is a worldwide organization, represented in sixty countries. The mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics, to promote personal achievement, enhanced self esteem, and the lowering of barriers between people.

Advocating Change Together (ACT)
1821 University Avenue
Suite 306-S
St. Paul, MN 55104
651 641-0297, act@selfadvocacy.org
Advocating Change Together (ACT) is a nonprofit disability rights organization run by and for people with developmental and other disabilities. ACT is committed to freedom, equality, and justice for all people with disabilities.

American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR)
444 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 846
Washington, D.C. 20001-1512
202/387-1968 or 800/424-3688
AAMR promotes global development and dissemination of progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual disabilities.

American Council of the Blind (ACB)
1155 15th Street, NW, Suite 1004
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 467-508 or (800) 424-8666, info@acb.org
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is a national organization of blind, visually impaired and sighted individuals whose purpose is to work toward independence, security, equality of opportunity, and improved quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
1101 15th Street, NW
Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005-5002
(202) 467-5730, webmaster@bazelon.org
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. The advocacy of the Bazelon Center is based on the principle that every individual is entitled to choice and dignity. For many people with mental disabilities, this means something as basic as having a decent place to live, supportive services and equality of opportunity.

Disability Rights Advocates
449 15th Street
Suite 303
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 451-8644, general@dralegal.org
Disability Rights Advocates is a national and international non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities. Operated by and established for people with disabilities, DRA pursues its mission through research, education, and legal advocacy. DRA's mission is to ensure dignity, equality, and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities throughout the United States and worldwide.

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
2212 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510.644.2555 V/TTY, dredf@dredf.org
Founded in 1979 by people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc. (DREDF) is a national law and policy center dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities through legislation, litigation, advocacy, technical assistance, and education and training of attorneys, advocates, persons with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities.

National Association of the Deaf
814 Thayer Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4500
301-587-1789 TTY, NADinfo@nad.org
The NAD safeguards the accessibility and civil rights of 28 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans in a variety of areas including education, employment, health care and social services, and telecommunications.

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA)
P.O. Box 4664
Lawrence KS 66046-1661
(785) 838-3836, narpa@hotbot.com
NARPA is dedicated to promoting those policies and pursuing those strategies that represent the preferred options of people who have been labeled mentally disabled. NARPA is committed to advocating the abolishing of all forced treatment laws. NARPA believes the recipients of mental health services are capable of and entitled to make their own choices, and they are, above all, equal citizens under the law.

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)
666 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
212-460-9330 or 800-221-4602 , info@ndss.org
The National Down Syndrome Society was established in 1979 to ensure that all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in community life. NDSS trains parents, professionals and individuals with Down syndrome to become effective advocates or self-advocates at the local, state and national levels.

National Organization on Disability
910 Sixteenth Street
N.W.Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 293-5960
TDD: (202) 293-5968, ability@nod.org
The National Organization on Disability promotes the full and equal participation of America's 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. N.O.D. was founded in 1982 at the conclusion of the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons. Funded entirely by private sector contributions, N.O.D. is the only national disability network organization concerned with all disabilities, all age groups and all disability issues.

The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH)
29 W. Susquehanna Avenue
Suite 210
Baltimore, MD 21204
TASH is an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm. TASH is an organization of members concerned with human dignity, civil rights, education, and independence for all individuals with disabilities.

United Spinal Association
75-20 Astoria Boulevard
Jackson Heights, NY 11370-1177
718-803-3782, info@unitedspinal.org
United Spinal works to better the lives of people afflicted with spinal cord injury, through promoting research, educating the public and advocating for quality health care.

 Mark Zupan
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 Joe Soares
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 Keith Cavill
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 Andy Cohn
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 Scott Hogsett
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 Bob Lujano
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