Thursday, November 5, 2015

"National Core Indicators" data on feelings of loneliness for people with DD

According to the National Core Indicators (NCI) website, 

“NCI is a voluntary effort by public developmental disabilities agencies to measure and track their own performance.

“The core indicators are standard measures used across states to assess the outcomes of services provided to individuals and families.  Indicators address key areas of concern including employment, rights, service planning, community inclusion, choice, and health and safety.”

The degree of loneliness that a person with a developmental disability experiences is one of those indicators. Here is a chart showing the overall proportion of people with DD who do or do not experience loneliness:

This is a chart generated using data on the website showing the settings in which people live who sometimes or often feel lonely:

This seems to contradict the conventional wisdom that people in larger more structured settings are generally isolated from other people and feel more lonely than people living in their own apartment, for instance. On the other hand, the type of setting where one lives may not be an important factor in terms of how often they feel lonely. Perhaps the appropriateness of the setting to the needs of the individual is more important.

The use of data of this type can be tricky and it is hard for people without a background in statistics to evaluate what it is really telling us. Unfortunately, generalizations about the subjective experiences of people with disabilities are used to promote policies that may not apply to a substantial number of people with DD or may be harmful to people who do not fit the generalization.

Check out the website and see how it applies to you and your family member with a disability.

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