October 16, 2020

Survey Results: Addressing the Needs of Southern Colorado’s Disability Community

Word Cloud for the BHAG Survey

In September 2020, The Independence Center conducted a survey of several thousand individuals in Southern Colorado. The goal of the survey was to better understand the aspirations of people with disabilities in our community, and the barriers that get in their way. The answers to this survey will be used to drive the direction of The IC in the coming years and help us focus our efforts so that we can make the greatest impact on those we serve.

Below are the main findings from the survey. Click on any image to make it larger. For questions or comments regarding our findings, please call 719-471-8181 or info@the-ic.org.

Question 1: What is your zip code?

Over the course of two weeks, 200 people responded to our survey. Approximately 74% of respondents reported living in a zip code within Colorado Springs, with the remainder living outside of the area.

Question 2: Do you identify as having a disability?

In response to this question, 83% reported having a disability, 13% said they did not identify as having a disability, and 4% were not sure.

Question 3: In a world without barriers, what would your future look like?

Out of the dozens of thoughtful responses to this question, five main themes appeared:

Universal Accessibility for all areas of life from one’s home to the wider community, including one’s place of work. The accessibility areas of concern include physical accessibility, more ASL interpreters, and accommodations for blindness and low vision generally.

One respondent envisioned it as, “Every traffic light and crosswalk would be equipped with a voice activated “go and stop” actions; every intersection would have appropriate crosswalks to accommodate wheelchairs and people with canes; every building would have ramp access/exits as well as button-activated doors.”

More Freedom/Personal Dignity to include more opportunities for travel and participation in activities that one is generally excluded from.

For one respondent, this would mean “Being able to go out into the community without people staring at you. And would accept you for who you are.”

Employment/Living Wage opportunities for those who are disabled to include greater workplace acceptance.

“A future where the community is understanding and more accepting of people with disabilities,” said one respondent. “It would be a world where people with disabilities can more easily make it beyond industries of simple work.”

Public Acceptance/Stronger Community where one can more fully enjoy the community with a greater sense of confidence.

One respondent said, “The community would be fully accessible and inclusive for all individuals regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.  The stigma around psychiatric disabilities would be demised and these disabilities would be treated equal to physical disabilities in understanding and respect.”

 Better Health Care to include strategies to deal with chronic pain and being better listened to by medical providers. Anxiety about the potential ending of the Affordable Care Act is also noted.

As one respondent put it, “Medical needs to be met because my insurance doesn’t provide the motivation for the doctors to find solutions or options to help me with my disability.”

Question 4: What are the barriers that keep you from creating the life you want?

The results of this multiple-choice question are listed from the most responses to the least.

  1. Others’ attitudes about me and my disability – 92 responses
  2. Poor physical or mental health – 75 responses
  3. Unsure what resources are available to me – 71 responses
  4. Hesitant to ask for help – 68 responses
  5. Lack of a strong support network – 66 responses
  6. Lack of reasonable accommodations (from employers, businesses, health care providers, etc.) – 66 responses
  7. A lack of confidence in myself and my abilities – 60 responses
  8. Unable to find a job/get paid a living wage – 52 responses
  9. Difficulty navigating the system/applying for resources such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, or Veterans’ Benefits – 49 responses
  10.  Other – 46 responses
  11.  Lack of accessibility in buildings/housing – 43 responses
  12.  Unable to secure transportation – 41 responses
  13.  Accessibility limitations within my household. – 40 responses
  14.  Insufficient education/skills – 29 responses
  15.  There are no barriers to keep me from creating the life I want – 26 responses
  16.  I do not feel safe in my home or community – 20 responses