National study of disability ‘first step on road to integration’

INITIAL results from the country’s first ever National Disability Study are “exceedingly valuable” in planning for future needs and the first step to integrating services, according to the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI).

DFI deputy chief executive Allan Dunne said that a “huge information deficit” still remains around disability in this country and that the new statistics “have to be warmly welcomed”. The disability study shows that:

56% of Irish people with a disability have dexterity and mobility problems.

A further 47% experience pain in their daily lives.

Another 35% of disabled people have problems remembering and concentrating.

A further 34% have problems with their emotional, psychological and mental health.

Up to 28% of people with an emotional, psychological or mental health disability said it was caused by depression.

And another 12% said their disability was caused by anxiety. Mr Dunne said: “The new figures are the first step in putting the National Disability Strategy in place and allowing for the mainstreaming of disability services in this country. We are at the start of an important journey towards integration and mainstreaming.”

Nearly a quarter of the disabled people questioned say they can’t lead normal lives because of their health problems.

A further 43% have a lot of problems leading a normal life because of their disability. The survey shows that intellectual, speech and learning disabilities affect more men than women. The study also demonstrates that older people are at much greater risk of disability, with more than a third of people with a disability aged 65 or over, even though this group only represents 11% of the population.

Amongst people aged 75 and over, 83% have a physical disability, and most suffer a lot of pain. The research also shows that 29% of people with a speech disability are under 18 as are 38% of people with an intellectual disability. Three quarters of disabled children have an intellectual disability.

Most people with an intellectual disability acquired it in childhood, with 39% displaying it from birth.

Another 39% acquired it before they were aged 18. A further 41% have a speech disability from birth and another 20% acquired it before they were 18.


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