For Children...The Future Can Be Bleak
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensively studied the prevalence of children diagnosed with physical, cognitive, and developmental disabilities in the United States, reporting that “during 2014-2016, the prevalence of children aged 3–17 years who had ever been diagnosed with a developmental disability increased from 5.76% to 6.99%.”
There are plenty of programs and treatments available to children and teens with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities, but the looming concern for young participants is the issue of aging-out. The Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in New York has found that 30 percent of children who age-out of their homes at age 22 die within 14 months after leaving. According to Seton CEO Patricia Tursi, the former residents pass away due to various illnesses and lack of efficient care; as CDC studies show that adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. But Tursi also believes that many of these adults die of a broken heart, explaining that “they just give up.”
As of now, the only options for continued care are group homes, geriatric nursing homes, or family care. These so-called “solutions” are at most times limited, insufficient, and simply unable to handle persons with disabilities.