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Marge and Jim Bristow embarked on a journey to find treatment options to help their daughter, Mary Carol, who was born with Cerebral Palsy in 1946. They went on to start the Dayton Chapter of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in 1956 and laid the foundation for what is now United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton (URS). Now URS has a full spectrum of services including Employment Services of URS. URS has been providing top-quality employment services for nearly 2 decades by focusing on our values of Excellence, Customer Focus, Integrity and Continuous Improvement. Our “why” is to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to the workforce by utilizing a variety of services and strategies to create a level playing field for the individuals we serve. We achieve this goal with well-trained, capable staff and a focus on expanding community employer partnerships and finding jobs that put the job seekers skills and abilities on full display. 

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COVID-19 Was Leading Killer Of People With Developmental Disabilities

by Shaun Heasley | September 26, 2022

A "prone team," wearing personal protective equipment, prepares to turn a COVID-19 patient onto his stomach in a hospital intensive care unit in Stamford, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images/TNS)

New research finds that people with developmental disabilities were much more likely to die from COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic than others.

A review of death certificates nationwide for 2020 shows that COVID-19 was the top cause of death among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

By comparison, the virus was the third leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer for those without such disabilities.

“Even when we adjusted for age, sex and racial-ethnic minority status, we found that COVID-19 was far deadlier for those with IDD than those without,” said Scott Landes, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University and lead author of the study published this month in the Disability and Health Journal. “Furthermore, people with IDD were dying at much younger ages.”

For the study, researchers looked at records from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System on the nearly 3.4 million children and adults who died in 2020. COVID-19 was to blame in 10.4% of those who did not have developmental disabilities. But, the study found that COVID-19 deaths were 1.5 times higher in individuals with cerebral palsy, 1.6 times higher in people with intellectual disability and more than twice as likely in those with Down syndrome.

Overall, COVID-19 accounted for a greater proportion of deaths among people with all types of developmental disabilities and across all age groups, the study found.

It’s not entirely clear why people with developmental disabilities faced a higher risk of death from COVID-19, but the researchers pointed to a few possible factors.

“People with IDD are living in congregate settings at a higher percentage than those without an IDD,” Landes said. “Group living situations, especially with close-contact personal care support, is associated with the spread of COVID-19. For the estimated 13% to 20% of adults with IDD living in these settings, the risk cannot be overstated.”

In addition, the study found higher rates of hypothyroidism and seizures in people with all types of developmental disabilities who died in 2020 and obesity was more common among those with intellectual disability and Down syndrome.

“Out of an abundance of caution, medical providers should carefully monitor symptoms among COVID-19 patients with IDD diagnosed with hypothyroidism and/or seizures,” the study concluded.

To mitigate the higher risk of death experienced by people with developmental disabilities during this pandemic and any future ones, the findings indicate that this population needs access to quality medical care, priority access to vaccines and other “systematic changes” to tackle “social inequities and marginalization.”

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As the holiday travel season gears up, Delta Air Lines is offering resources to travelers with autism spectrum disorder.

Delta is offering an inclusive experience at the Atlanta and Minneapolis airports as part of its Passenger Accessibility Commitment. The PAC will team with TSA to help make accessibility for flights more manageable.

“Because of my personal connection to autism, Navigating MSP is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. The chance to work with other Delta employees that have the same goal of bringing hope to a large community that thought air travel would be an impossibility is heartwarming,” said First Officer Rich Kargel.

The program will allow families to practice what they will go through while traveling, with tours covering ticketing, TSA screening and boarding the plane. These “familiarization tours” — walking through the steps, familiarizing oneself with the process and spotting any trouble spots in advance — can help those with autism feel safe and calm on the actual travel day.

Airports are increasingly working to make travel more manageable for passengers with autism or other sensory processing disorders. Airports in Seattle, New York, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Atlanta have added sensory rooms that ticketed passengers can access based on their individual needs.

“Delta people have always gone above and beyond to serve our customers, and create inclusive experiences for all,” said Dana Folsom, manager of disability programs. “Connecting the world looks different for every customer, and I am proud to work alongside people willing to go the extra mile to give all our customers that same opportunity for meaningful connections.”

© 2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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