RLI 281 Print DisabilitiesS, LibrariesS, and Higher Education 9 DECEMBER 2012 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC Print Disabilities and the Population The US Government Accountability Office has shown that the numbers of students with disabilities in post-secondary education is growing—with marked increases in cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia and autism, and growing populations such as returning veterans.12A Canadian government survey of 2006 found that disability among children had increased since 2001. Among Canadian children aged 5 to 14 that increase was from 4% to 4.6%. With regard to special education services, parents reported learning disabilities as the most likely reason their children were receiving services.13 The population of the print disabled is both significant and growing. The Reading Rights Coalition estimates that there are “30 million Americans who cannot read print because of blindness, dyslexia, spinal cord injury, and other print disabilities.”14 Notably, vision loss can be a consequence of other growing health concerns, such as diabetes, which increasingly affects people of all ages. Moreover, research libraries serve patrons of all ages, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. According to the National Institutes of Health, With the aging of the population, the number of Americans with major eye diseases is increasing, and vision loss is becoming a major public health problem. By the year 2020, the number of people who are blind or have low vision is projected to increase substantially…Blindness or low vision affects 3.3 million Americans age 40 and over, or one in 28…This figure is projected to reach 5.5 million by the year 2020.15
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