Leveling the Playing Field for Scientists With Disabilities

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Science  02 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5386, pp. 36-37
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5386.36

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DAVIS, CALIFORNIA-- With help from new technologies and old-fashioned willpower, researchers with disabilities are making gains in the workplace. In 1996, the National Science Foundation estimated that 5% of the 3-million-strong science and engineering workforce--about 175,000 people, including 26,000 Ph.D.s--have "moderate to severe" disabilities, by far the most common of which are learning disabilities, followed by speech problems, orthopedic disabilities, vision loss and hearing impairments, and chronic diseases. Behind the numbers are compelling stories about how individuals have leveraged high-tech advances--and their own determination--to become productive scientists.