What Exactly Is the Definition of Disability?

What Exactly Is the Definition of Disability?

So often people use terms freely and quickly without even considering if the word in use means the same thing to all people. A quick Google search reveals that the definition of disability lacks simplicity and consistency. Here is a survey of various. definitions.  Far from simple.

Dictionary Definition of Disability

By far, the simplest definition of disability comes from the dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines disability as:

: a condition (such as an illness or an injury) that damages or limits a person’s physical or mental abilities

: the condition of being unable to do things in the normal way: the condition of being disabled

: a program that provides financial support to a disabled person

American with Disabilities Association DA Definition of Disability

It is important to remember that in the context of the ADA, disability is a legal term rather than a medical one.

A person with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability.

Social Security Administration Definition of Disability

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other definitions because it determines who qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits.

To meet our definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s):

  • That is expected to result in death, or
  • That has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

The Social Security Administration uses the term “substantial gainful activity” to describe a level of work activity and earnings.

Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both. For work activity to be substantial, it does not need to be performed on a full-time basis. Work activity performed on a part-time basis may also be SGA.

“Gainful” work activity is:

  • Work performed for pay or profit; or
  • Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or
  • Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

Who Has The Last Say on The Definition Of Disability?

“Hello, I’m calling to request proof of disability that I filed when I was on Social Security.”

“What do you mean when you WERE on Social Security?”

“I’m no longer receiving benefits because I’m working full time.”

“Then why do you need proof of disability? If you’re working, you are no longer disabled.”

“……. (( um….. what??? )) ……”

The above phone call actually happened between the Social Security office and Wheeler Wife, which is related in the blog Rolling Without Limits.

It begs the question. Who tells who who is disabled or not? Who has the authority and right to determine the definition of disability?

Definition of Disability by People with Disabilities

I am vocal about having a disability because I don’t want other people defining what having a disability means for me. Whether you’re active most days, or spend most of your time in bed, you have the right to define that for yourself.                                                                                          

                                                                                                                               -Maya Brown-Zimmerman

There are many things I can do that I enjoy, things that bring me great pleasure such as writing, but I envy the freedom of choice that able people have.  I don’t have that and I haven’t had it for as long as I can remember, even if I look like I could.

I didn’t choose this life but it is the life I have so please do not discount it.

So, how do you define disability now?

-Claire Barnier

You personally can’t define your disability. Your body does. Whether it be a mental or a physical illness, it’s your body that leads the way and you have no choice but to follow. I could fight my illness as long as I want, but at the end of the day I’m going to still have trouble living a “normal” life. I have no choice but to live with a bunch of medication in my pocket and a thing that I have to check my blood sugar with once a day. I’m no longer free to do whatever I want.


 In Conclusion

Of course there are reasons for every definition listed above. Each person, organization, or entity defines disability within the context of what aspect of disability each is attempting to address.

Nonetheless, we end with the most uplifting of definitions. It was written by Wheeler Wife on the same website where her phone call with the Social Security Administration was related above. Her definition of disability reads:

Empowered, Strong, Valued, Unique, Beautiful, Interesting, are just some of the ways I would describe the members of the disabled community. It is more important than ever to remember that the more we use positive labels, the greater the influence we can make on the definition of disability.

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Vaccinations for Children: The Debate

Vaccinations for Children: Anti-Vaxers versus Pro-Vaxers

Anti-vaxers versus pro-vaxers. Passions run deep. Divisions are clear. In an increasingly segmented nation, it seems any type of debate turns nasty quickly. Of course the internet is ground-zero for venting anger and vilifying those with opposing opinions.

Vaccination History


Many people believe that the anti-vaccination movement is new and a consequence of concerns about the large number of immunizations now given. But, vaccination concerns began shortly after the introduction of smallpox vaccination. And it started in England before it made its way to the United States.

Assistant professors Robert M Wolfe and Lisa K Sharp state “The British Vaccination Act of 1840 was the first incursion of the state, in the name of public health, into traditional civil liberties. The activities of today’s propagandists against immunisations are directly descended from, indeed little changed from, those of the anti-vaccinationists of the late nineteenth century.”

United States

Anti-vaccination activity also increased in the United States towards the end of the 19th century; widespread vaccination in the early part the century had contained smallpox outbreaks, and vaccination fell into disuse. However, in the 1870s the disease became epidemic owing to the susceptibility of the population. As states attempted to enforce existing vaccination laws or pass new ones, vigorous anti-vaccination movements arose.

Towards the end of the 20th century, a wave of activity from anti-vaxers led to an increase in media interest in the arguments attacking childhood immunizations.

Main Reasons Anti-Vaxers Use for Their Stance

  • There’s no proof that vaccines don’t cause autism.
  • One study from England did show a link between vaccines and autism.
  • There are lots of anecdotes about children developing autism after being vaccinated.
  • It’s nobody’s business whether my children get vaccinated.
  • Vaccines can “overload” a child’s immune system.
  • “Natural” immunity is better than the immunity that comes from vaccination.

Now each of the above arguments come with ample scientific arguments as to their misrepresentations or non-scientific backing. However, the purpose at hand was to simply list anti-vaxers main arguments

Main Arguments of Pro-Vaxers

  • Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, are still a threat.
  • Though vaccination has led to a dramatic decline in the number of U.S. cases of several infectious diseases, some of these diseases are brought to the U.S. by international travelers.
  • Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children.
  • Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and the federal government.
  • If children aren’t vaccinated, they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems.
  • We all have a public health commitment to our communities to protect each other and each other’s children by vaccinating our own family members.

Once again, this is a list that simply serves to outline pro-vaxers main arguments. The response of anti-vaxers to these arguments is not the purpose at hand.

Autism and Vaccinations

The purported “link” between autism and vaccinations seems to receive the most media exposure. This may be due in part to Andrew Wakefield, who is considered by many to be the “father” of the anti-vaccine movements. To a small group of anti-vaxers, he’s a hero who refuses to back down from his assertion that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines can cause autism.

There must have been some handwringing among Wakefield and anti-vaxers when the nation’s largest autism advocacy group (Autism Speaks) updated its stance on vaccines and autism:

“Over the last two decades extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccines and autism. Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines. Vaccines are very important. Parents must make the decision whether to vaccinate their children. Efforts must be continually made to educate parents about vaccine safety. If parents decide not to vaccinate they must be aware of the consequences in their community and their local schools.”

This is a departure from the past, when the organization, which funded research into possible connections between immunizations and autism, has said it is possible that, in rare cases, “immunization may trigger the onset of autism symptoms in a child with an underlying medical or genetic condition.”

Measles Cases

From January 2 to May 21, 2016, 19 people were reported to have measles.

In 2015, 189 people were reported to have measles.

In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases; this is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

  • The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.
  • Measles is still common in many parts of the world.
  • Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S.
  • Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.

It appears as if the anti-vaxers may slowly be succumbing to science.

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Three Things That Won’t and Three Things That Will Make You Happier at Work

Three Things That Won’t and Three Things That Will Make You Happier at Work

We have an acronym and a restaurant chain describing the thanks we have when Friday rolls around. We have a type of blue feeling when it’s time to start work back up on a Monday. Apparently, we put a lot of energy into thinking about work and how it makes us feel. So today, we offer some “job advice” in the form of three things that won’t make us happier at work, and three things that will.

Three Things That Won’t Make You Much Happier at Work

A Shorter Workweek

  • Why you think it will make you happier at work: In recent research that LearnVest did, a full two-thirds of respondents said they’d prefer a four-day workweek. Spending less time at work means having more time to devote to the activities that really make you happy.

More Vacation Time

  • Why you think it will make you happier at work: You already cherish your time off, so having more of it will make you happier with your job.
  • Why it doesn’t always work: According to vacation data from CEPR and the human resources company Mercer, as well as a worker satisfaction survey from Randstad, interviewed 400 workers between the ages of 18 and 65 in each of 27 countries, and found very little correlation between mandatory vacation time and a country’s overall worker satisfaction.

A Higher Salary

  • Why you think it will make you happier at work: Earning more money allows you more freedom to purchase the things you want, and provide a self-esteem boost, right?
  • Why it doesn’t always work: New research from career site Glassdoor suggests that more money can make employees more satisfied with their jobs—but not as much as other workplace factors. A higher salary only makes employees a little bit Data analysis revealed that a 10 percent increase in pay translated into one percent increase in employee satisfaction.

Three Things (Backed by Science) That Will Make You Happier at Work 

Bringing Your Personal Baggage to Work

Keep your home life struggles at home. You are here to do a juob, so do it. We don’t want to know the energy and time you are expending outside the workplace. We often don’t know much about our co-workers and what they’re personally going through.

Researchers are realizing that separating professional and personal lives is a poor model. It minimizes workers in a way that makes it more difficult for them to be happy, to feel valuable, connected, trusted and cared-for at work. Reversing this practice may promote compassion, happiness, trust, and social connections.

Stop Competing with Co-Workers

Work is often framed as being something you earn. It’s very competitive and people get jealous and harbor resentment. Workplace competition is often counter to cooperation.

This mentality doesn’t lend itself to happiness, nor to the type of achievement that stems from the cooperation of a team.

Instead, don’t act like rivals. Help each other. Create a culture of happiness and cooperation.

Be Nice, Be Respectful

Be nice. Very simple. It’s one of the most measurably effective things you can do to increase happiness at work. Researchers revealed this in a recent nursing industry organizational trust study and intervention. 

The Bottom Line

The three things that do not necessarily lead to happiness at work concern the desire to receive more things from your employer. Happiness may not lie in the fulfillment of these desires. It looks as if happiness is more focused on the way we interact with our co-workers at work.

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Hollywood Movie Angers Many in The Disability Community

Hollywood Movie Angers Many in The Disability Community

Me Before You is the movie at the heart of a controversy. And this is a spoiler alert. The film, follows the relationship between a quadriplegic and his female caregiver. To many, the mere fact that there was a major movie starring a quadriplegic character as a romantic lead was thrilling. However, this thrill quickly turns to feelings that range from disappointment to disgust depending upon who you talk to in the disability community.

The romantic leads do fall in love. However, the male is deeply depressed about his disability, which leads him to ultimately decide his life as a disabled man is not worth living—and opts for assisted suicide.

This plot sends a message to many within and without the disability community: The lives of those who have a disability are not worth living.

Direct Comments from The Disabled Community

Blogger Crippledscholar created a page of comments from the disabled community and mainstream media coverage of the movie named Media Roundup of Me Before You Criticism.

John Kelly, a Boston activist who is wheelchair has been vocal about his disgust over the story portrayed in the film.

He’s concerned that the movie will actually prompt disabled people to end their lives.

“After a new injury, people are very vulnerable, because suddenly you become part of a marginalized group. Only a disabled character could have their suicide presented as noble.

People happily cry over people like me killing ourselves. Where are the films where he changes his mind and they live happily ever after?”

Why Do You Want Me Dead

Ella French, an 11-year-old wheel chair athlete pens a profound letter addressed to Hollywood titled: “Me Before You: Dear Hollywood, Why Do You Want Me Dead?

One of the most gut-wrenching paragraphs from this currently number two ranked professional female wheelchair skater (WCMX) in the world, reads:

“You sit there with your able bodies, and look at people in chairs and think you feel pity for our sad little lives, but the truth is you’re afraid. You don’t want to imagine that you might be one of us one day. You think you can be perfect, and think you’d rather die than have parts that don’t work right.

I think that’s sad.”

Does Anyone from The Disability Community See Value in the Movie

Sarah-Jane, a YouTube book blogger and fan of the novel, who is a person from the disability community, said that she is planning to see Me Before You regardless of the protests. Her opinion of the Jojo Moyes’s book has not changed.

“We need more disabled stories: that is something I agree with wholeheartedly. But I honestly don’t believe that a book showing one man’s story, one man’s decision, represents the entire disability community as a whole. I don’t think there’s any story out there that can do that.”

However, Sarah-Jane read the book and had not yet seen the movie. There may be subtleties in the book which never made it on screen.

Which seems to be the case. When Jojo Moyes described the film adaptation of her book, she believed some of the subtext and nuances the film were cut in order not to derail its romantic tone.

But even if all the nuance made it into the film, it’s likely it would still be controversial. The book itself was criticized because Moyes didn’t contact any quadriplegics. When writing about an underrepresented group you are not a part of it’s important to do your homework.

And then ask John Kelly’s question “Where are the films where he changes his mind and they live happily ever after?”

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Has The Four Percent Retirement Rule Lost Its Usefulness?

Has The Four Percent Retirement Rule Lost Its Usefulness?

What Is This Retirement Rule?

The four percent retirement rule is a rule of thumb used by financial planners and retirees to help determine the amount of funds to withdraw from a retirement account each year.

This retirement rule attempts to provide steady funds to a retiree while maintaining an account balance to be withdrawn for a set number of years. The four percent rate rate is considered a conservative rate, with withdrawals largely drawn from interest and dividends. The withdraw rate is constant, but it can be increased to keep pace with inflation.

Does The Four Percent Retirement Rule Still Hold

The last decade has been one of low interest rates. Therefore, the four percent rule is no longer working well—unless you are wealthy or have more than enough socked away for later life.

Part of the problem with the four percent rule is that it was created in the 1990s, when interest rates were much higher. Retirees with bonds and annuities created more income than retirees today with the same assets.

Also, the market has had too many fluctuations. Therefore, this rule could work only if you are wealthy enough or young enough to withstand the volatility of market fluctuations. But for the average retiree (who is now also living longer) the four percent rule can lead to a nonexistent nest egg.

Recent research has shown that in this day and age, a retiree would be 50 percent more likely to run out of money utilizing this retirement rule.

However, to the credit of Bill Bergen (who created the retirement rule in 1994), he stated that “I always warned people that the 4 percent rule is not a law of nature like Newton’s laws of motion. It is entirely possible that at some time in the future there could be a worse case.”

Alternative Rules of Thumb

A retiree can plan to be more conservative with withdrawals, turning the four percent into the three percent retirement rule. Obviously, money would last longer that way.

Be flexible. If a retiree is withdrawing three percent annually and the stock market performs well for numerous years, one can adjust withdrawals.

When asked what type of nest egg would generate an annual retirement income of $100,000, Steve Vernon author of Money for Life offered his rule of thumb.

“My very general rule of thumb is to have savings equal to 25 times your desired amount of annual retirement income when you retire. So if you need $100,000 per year in retirement income, you’ll need $2.5 million in savings. If the $100,000 income is in addition to Social Security or includes Social Security, that makes a difference.”

Financial advisors can find plenty of four percent retirement rule alternatives to offer to investors, including deferred income annuities, immediate fixed annuities, and managed payout funds.

Retirees may be reluctant to disregard what has historically been a successful metric for withdrawal rates. But the preceding discussion should at at least indicate that alternatives should be explored.

Nobody wants an eggless nest.

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Top Excuses For Not Purchasing Disability Insurance

Top Excuses For Not Purchasing Disability Insurance


In the 1980 movie parody Airplane, Lloyd Bridges played the role of the beleaguered airport manager who faced crisis after crisis. As stress overcame his character throughout the movie, he uttered his now famous refrain, “I guess I picked the wrong week to quit smoking,” as he lit up a cigarette. And there was ALWAYS an excuse for him to put off quitting any of his bad habits. Do you have a little Lloyd Bridges in you? Are you continually finding an excuse to sign up for disability insurance?

Do Any of These Excuses Sound Familiar?  

I’m pretty sure I already have Disability Insurance through my job

You may already have Disability Insurance through your job. However, it is not a benefit you automatically receive because you work somewhere.

In order to get it through your job, your employer has to offer it as a benefit. Many employers, especially small businesses, do not. If it is offered at work, sometimes you need to actively sign up for it and sometimes pay a portion of the premiums.

If I can’t work, then I will just dip into my savings and I’ll be fine

Of course you can dip into savings if you can’t work due to injury or sickness. But, how long will those funds last? You have to pay bills: utilities, groceries, car payment, mortgage, childcare, and medical bills, etc. According to a Federal Reserve report, 47 percent of Americans couldn’t handle a $400 emergency.

When someone isn’t injured or sick, they often underestimate how much they will need when they aren’t working.

A sickness or injury can last months or years. Can your savings provide for that long?

I am in good health; I won’t become disabled

The odds may surprise you.  Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire. An illness or accident that keeps you out of work can be very costly because medical bills, prescriptions, and other unforeseen expenses must be covered on top of pre-existing family and everyday expenses.

I’m not in a dangerous line of work

Many people assume disabilities are caused by freak accidents, but the 2014 Council for Disability Awareness Long Term Disability Claims Review reports that only 10 percent of disabilities are a result of injury. The vast majority of long-term absences are actually due to illnesses.

My spouse earns a good income so we’ll be covered if I can’t work

That could be enough—many two-income households manage just fine on one income for a while, particularly when the working spouse is the primary breadwinner. But consider the fact that the average long-term disability absence lasts 2.5 years and could impose medical expenses beyond what your health insurance would cover.

Could your spouse’s income cover your household expenses for that period? Disability causes nearly 50% of all mortgage foreclosures, so it can be a significant burden.

Disability insurance seems like a good idea, but I just can’t afford it

If you have employer sponsored coverage, it likely costs less than 1 percent of your gross income. However, if your employer does not offer it, and disability insurance is simply too expensive, there are more affordable types of income protection such as critical illness insurance and accident insurance. They provide less comprehensive benefits but are better than no coverage.

What really may be unaffordable is your current expenses without a paycheck.

There Are a Few Appropriate Excuses 

Two disability insurance excuses are perfectly appropriate depending on your circumstances: a) I’m only a few years away from retirement, so I probably don’t need it at this point; or b) I have enough cash savings and other liquid assets to last me if I’m unable to work for a long time.

However, beyond these excuses, you may be doing nothing more than preparing to audition for the role of the airport manager in a long overdue remake of the original Airplane classic.

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Identity First or Person First Language: Where Do You Stand?

Identity First or Person First Language: Where Do You Stand?


“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” serves a lesson to youth in some respects. It informs them that if they are called a name, they have the ability to choose not to be harmed by words. That is fine up to a point, but it dismisses the great power of words.

Words and the language a society uses can help shape both conscious and unconscious beliefs. Therefore, today we discuss identity-first language as opposed to person first language in the context of disability.

People with disabilities are people who have individual abilities, interests, and needs. They are moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors, coworkers, students, and teachers. About 54 million Americans have a disability.

People with disabilities are our nation’s largest minority group. Everyone is represented: all genders, ages, religions, socioeconomic levels, and ethnicities. The disability community is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time.

Person First Language (or People First Language)

Person first language is used to speak appropriately and respectfully about an individual with a disability. Person first language emphasizes the person before the disability. For example, when referring to a person who has a disability, people first language uses phrasing such as: “a person who …”, “a person with …” or, “person who has…”

Here are samples of person first language methods for communicating with or about people with disabilities.

  • Correct: Person with a disability; Incorrect: The disabled, handicapped
  • Correct: Person with an intellectual, cognitive, developmental disability; Incorrect: Retarded, slow, simple, moronic, defective, afflicted, special person
  • Correct: Person with an emotional or behavioral disability, person with a mental health or a psychiatric disability; Incorrect: Insane, crazy, psycho, maniac, nuts
  • Correct: Person who is hard of hearing; Incorrect: Hearing impaired, suffers a hearing loss
  • Correct: Person with epilepsy or seizure disorder; Incorrect: Epileptic
  • Correct: Person with multiple sclerosis; Incorrect: Afflicted by MS
  • Correct: Person with cerebral palsy: Incorrect: CP victim
  • Correct: Person of short stature; Incorrect: Midget

Notice the sentence structure of person first language: the speaker verbalizes the concept that the disability is a secondary attribute—not a defining characteristic of a person’s identity.

However, there are individuals who have a critique of this language philosophy. They espouse the use of identity first language.

Identity First Language

Identity first language is close to the opposite of person first language. Identity first language puts the disability or disorder first in the description (e.g. an “autistic person”).

Cara Liebowitz is one of many who prefer identity first language. She shares her thoughts on her blog entry: I am Disabled: On Identity First Versus People First Language.

“Though person-first language is designed to promote respect, the concept is based on the idea that disability is something negative, something that you shouldn’t want to see. After all, no one tells me that I should call myself a person with femaleness or a person with Jewishness. I’m a Jewish woman. No one questions that.

Yet when I dare to call myself a disabled person, it seems the whole world turns upside down. That’s because gender and religion are seen as neutral, if not positive, characteristics. The idea of separating the disability from the person stems from the idea that disability is something you should want to have separated from you, like a rotten tooth that needs to be pulled out.”

Another Identity First Language Advocate Writes

”Consider how PFL intentionally separates a person from their disability. Although this supposedly acknowledges personhood, it also implies that “disability” or “disabled” are negative, derogatory words.

In other words, disability is something society believes a person should try to dissociate from if they want to be considered a whole person. This makes it seem as though being disability is something of which you should be ashamed. PFL essentially buys into the stigma it claims to be fighting.”

Sticks and Stones

There is the obvious argument that names and language can hurt much greater than the broken bones created from sticks and stones.

Whichever side of the debate you come down on, you cannot go wrong if you remain courteous, respectful, and observant that a disability is not a person. A person is a person.

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The Millennial Generation: “Who Are Those Guys?”

The Millennial Generation: “Who Are Those Guys?”


Have you noticed that defining the characteristics of the Millennial Generation seems to be a cottage industry? It seems like some type of demographic obsession. For instance, here is an anecdotal, non-scientific question you can ask a “suspected” Millennial: Have you ever seen a movie made prior to the 1980s (besides Star Wars). If the answer is no, BOOM, you know this person is a Millennial.

Thus the “old” movie reference “Who Are Those Guys” in the title line of this piece. It would be interesting to see how many from the Millennial Generation have seen this classic, humorous Western from 1969. It seemed fitting to use this line. Can any of you from the Millennial Generation identify the movie?

A Millennial and Stereotypes of the Millennial Generation Stereotypes

The movie stereotype created above adds to the misconception of the variety and diversity of the Millennial Generation.

And some Millennials are sick and tired of these stereotypes heaped upon them including Will.

“Hi there, my name is Will and I’m a feckless cosmopolitan millennial.”

  • I work for a venture-backed start-up.
  • I have challenges like the irritation my hover board causes fellow commuters.
  • I have challenges like keeping my man bun in place.
  • Sometimes, I stare at my reflection captured on Snapchat.
  • I think about how I’m going to integrate a handlebar moustache and a sleeve tattoo into my aesthetic.
  • I express my thoughts using GIFs.
  • I wonder if I should start a podcast about my favorite podcasts.

“I’m so tired of stereotypes. I’m obviously nothing like the paragraphs above and neither is any one I know my age. I’m so bored of hearing the word millennial, regardless of the context.”

Let’s Help Will and Provide a Deeper Study of the Millennial Generation


The term Millennials covers a loose generational category of those born between 1980 and 1998. This is likely too broad a description (Will would likely agree). Millennials are not a static, monolithic group.

Social and Demographic Trends of the Millennial Generation

A Pew Research Center Study reveals a diverse, complex generation when it comes to social and demographic trends.


  • 26 percent of the Millennial Generation is married (When they were the age that Millennials are now, 36 percent of Generation X, 48 percent of Baby Boomers, and 65 percent of the members of the Silent Generation were married.)
  • Most unmarried Millennials (69 percent) say they would like to marry, but many lack what they deem to be necessary—a solid economic foundation.

Racial Diversity

  • Some 43 percent of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest share of any generation.
  • About half of newborns in America today are non-white, and the Census Bureau projects that the full U.S. population will be majority non-white sometime around 2043.

Social Trust Low; Country’s Future Upbeat

  • When asked, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” just 19 percent of Millennials say most people can be trusted,
  • 49 percent of Millennials say the country’s best years are ahead.

Highly Educated

  • A third of older Millennials have a four-year college degree or more—making them the best-educated group of young adults in American history.
  • Two-thirds of recent bachelor’s degree recipients have outstanding student loans, with an average debt of about $27,000.

Economic Optimism 

Millennials are Independents; Vote Democratic

  • 31 percent say there is a great deal of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.
  • Even so, this generation stood out in the past two presidential elections as strikingly Democratic.


  • The Millennial generation is less likely than older generations to be affiliated with any religion. They are also less likely to say they believe in God. A solid majority still do—86 percent—but only 58 percent say they are “absolutely certain” God exists.

“Will the Millennial” Is On to Something

The Millennial Generation is not a static, homogenous group. They are multifaceted and savvy, and are the most educated generation in history. They are a far cry from hover-board toting, man-bun wearing, emoji proliferators.

Sure, they are skeptical, but wouldn’t you be growing up in an era of recession, political deceit, and bailouts?

Who Are Those Guys?

Hopefully these statistics get you closer to answering this question.

And it is likely many of The Millennial Generation will know exactly what movie that line came from: Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Because this blog has decided to rescind the stereotype that Millennials have not seen movies produced prior to the 80s. Totes.

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Think Twice Before Calling Her Lazy or Shooting Him a Dirty Look

Hidden Disabilities: Think Twice Before Calling Her Lazy or Shooting Him a Dirty Look

Have you ever had a co-worker clock out early a couple days each month? Why does management allow that type of laziness? Have you ever shot a dirty look to the healthy person abusing the accessible parking space? Isn’t that just about the lowest? Well, before you make snap judgements similar to these, keep in mind the possibility of hidden disabilities.

What Are Hidden Disabilities

Hidden disabilities, or invisible disabilities, refer to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences, and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.  These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations, and vary from person to person.

Also, someone who has a visible impairment or uses an assistive device such as a wheelchair, walker or cane can also have hidden disabilities. For example, whether or not a person utilizes an assistive device, if they are debilitated by such symptoms as described above, they live with hidden disabilities.

How Prevalent Are Hidden Disabilities

Hidden disabilities are much more common than you may think. Before branding that co-worker lazy think about this: Approximately 96 percent of people who live with an illness have an illness that is invisible. These people do not use a cane or any assistive device and may look perfectly healthy.

Is There Such Thing as Hidden Disability Discrimination

Yes. Of all the employment disability discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2005 and 2010, the most commonly cited conditions were invisible ones, according to analysis by researchers at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute.

I Have a Hidden Disability, Should I Tell My Employer

You may be concerned that, after disclosing your disability, you will be viewed differently.

You can address this by demanding equal treatment. However, several things can occur after revealing your hidden disability, even by the most well-intentioned employees.

Some co-workers or supervisors may want to protect you from tasks they feel physically or emotionally demanding, which unbeknownst to them, diminishes learning experiences for you.

If you want to have choices about what challenges you take on, say so. Be proactive about requesting challenging work, and then demonstrate your commitment.  Let there be no doubt about your ambition or goals.

If you choose not to mention your needs, there are risks. If medical emergencies or safety aren’t concerns, the biggest risk you probably face is the possibility that your performance will be impaired by the hidden disability.

Disability doesn’t excuse poor performance, nor does it protect you from any actions that may result. If the organization has been working with you on reasonable adjustments, you have a much better chance of maintaining strong performance or improving decreased performance. There’s more trust, closer collaboration, and you’re better positioned for success.

Whether You Choose to Disclose Or Not

You may at times feel disadvantaged by the impact of your disability. Since you cannot change these issues, optimize all your assets. There are inspiring people everywhere with overcome obstacles by delivering consistent performance and professionalism at all times. Co-workers will see your performance first—and your disability second.

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Mental Health on College Campuses


Mental Health on College Campuses

College is supposed to be the time of your life, right? How many times has someone older than you told you “to enjoy it while you can.” Well, add this expectation and pressure to “enjoy” to existing ones like grades and homesickness. Which begs the question, “What is the status of mental health on college campuses?”

By The Numbers: Mental Health on College Campuses

USA Today wrote a sobering piece about the potential crisis of mental illness on college campuses. This piece included very dire numbers.

  • Approximately 42,773 Americans commit suicide every year, many of whom are college students.
  • One in every 12 U.S. college students makes a suicide plan, according to National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression.
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all other medical illnesses combined
  • 5 percent of students reported feeling hopeless in the past year.
  • 5 percent of students reported feeling lonely—a common a common indicator of depression—in the in the past year.
  • Two-thirds of students who are struggling do not seek treatment, according to the American College Health Association’s Spring 2015 assessment.

Different Report, Same Concerns

Other mental health concerns on college campuses are revealed in the The Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s 2015 Annual Report, which represents a decade of work focusing on mental health on college campuses.

In addition to describing more than 100,000 college students seeking mental health services in 2014- 2015, this year’s report also summarizes mental health trends across five full academic years (2010-2011 through 2014-2015).

The following numbers represent key findings in the report. These findings refer to students seen in counseling centers, unless otherwise specified:

Three types of self-reported distress have demonstrated slow but consistent growth over the past five years including: Depression, anxiety, and social anxiety.

One-in-eight student clients said sleep was a problem for them, a rate that is 30 percent higher than those needing help for alcohol, and almost three times the rate of students who needed help from counseling centers to overcome drug abuse.

The lifetime prevalence rate for self-injury has increased over the last five years from 21.8 percent to 25.0 percent.

Stable Areas of Mental Health on College Campuses

The lifetime prevalence rates for prior mental health treatment have remained quite stable over the past five years including prior counseling (1 in 2), prior psychiatric medications (1 in 3), and prior psychiatric hospitalizations (1 in 10).

Some types of self-reported distress and mental health history variables have remained very stable or even decreased slightly over the last five years, including academic distress, eating concerns, hostility, substance abuse, and family distress.

Issues of mental health on college campuses impact students’ ability to succeed:

  • Almost one third of all college students report having felt so depressed that they had trouble functioning.
  • Mental health issues in the college student population, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, are associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of college.
  • More than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45 percent have felt hopeless.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Independence. Hooray! Some students may have a difficult time adjusting to their new routines and environment, all while juggling their schoolwork and social lives.

Here are some of the ways you can recognize the need for help and take care of your mental health during your journey.

  • Don’t be so ready to blame the feelings of depression or anxiety on the pressures of classes and homework. Reflect upon the depth and persistence of these feelings and seek help.
  • Many universities provide psychological counseling services, but only an estimated 10 percent of college students seek professional help. Don’t be one of the 90 percent.
  • Don’t get bogged down by social stigmas. Contact your university’s counseling services to see what kind of help they can provide.

College can be the best of times and the worst of times, but it shouldn’t be dreadfully overwhelming. Don’t overlook the need to take care of your emotional health during your pursuit to graduate. Asking for help can be extremely difficult, but it’s never the wrong thing to do.

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