Disabilities & Medical Diagnoses

  • In Spokane, over 6,000 people (1.5%) have a developmental disability.
  • 80% of marriages with one disabled child end in divorce.
  • Nationally, 3 out of every 4 people with disabilities are not employed, and only 27% successfully transition to college.
What You Can Do
  • Testing disabilities.  A variety of disabilities can affect our ability to communicate with others.  All disabilities can be identified through testing.  There are many institutions which can assist in evaluations
  • Respite care.  Extend supportive friendship or respite care to families caring for children with disabilities.  Caring for a child with considerable disabilities can put tremendous stress on a family.  It is very important that those who care for disabled family members are able to find their own quiet, joyful time together that is not focused on the care-giving of the disabled person. 
  • Help the disabled find things to do, so they feel needed and valued, and can live a full and rich life despite their challenges.  
  • Assist with the activities of daily living for someone who needs assistance, such as shopping or housework.   
  • Read to a disabled child.
  • Record books on tapes for people with disabilities.  
  • Help students with disabilities by taking notes, reading books, or recording their answers during exams.  
  • Acknowledge people in wheelchairs.  Meet them at their eye level first, and then focus on others at your level that may be escorting them.  
  • Take personal precautions against injuries and falling to avoid preventable disabilities, like using handrails and wearing a seat belt.  
  • Inform others of the various forms of transportation for the disabled and elderly in our area.
Spokane Transit Authority will take the disabled or elderly anywhere in the Spokane area at a very reasonable fee, which is $1.50/ride.  You must apply for a personal card and number before using this service.  Call (509) 325-6052 to apply for STA's Paratransit Van Service.  

(Spokane's Medvan, providing transportation to medical appointments, is NO longer in operation.)  
  • Handicapped parking.  Do not park in handicapped parking if you are not disabled.
  • Recreation.  Volunteer to help with recreational opportunities for people with disabilities´┐Żorthopedic, spinal cord, neuromuscular, visual, hearing, cognitive, and developmental.  Assist youth with disabilities in recreational centers.  You may help teach adapted sports, coach, or assist with Special Olympics, Paralympics, and other events.  
  • Volunteer sewing skills.  Offer to sew or alter clothing to accommodate children, adults, and wounded soldiers who are bedridden or have medical devices (casts, braces, or injuries such as burns) which make it difficult to wear normal clothing.  Example:  Side seams can be opened and closed with Velcro.  For more information, visit Sew Much Comfort at http://www.sewmuchcomfort.org.  
  • Volunteer your expertise or simply your desire to help those with disabilities and special needs.  
  • Volunteer to befriend a person with a disability who has no support system.  Participation in normal, routine daily activities (talking a walk, having a conversation, going out for ice cream) enlarges abilities and social skills.
  • Employ a disabled person.  Businesses should consider hiring persons who are developmentally disabled.  Disabled people can find fulfillment when others find boredom, especially when it comes to repetitive tasks.  They are often highly productive and rarely call in sick.  Every business has its simpler tasks that can be broken out from the more complex task.  Employers can increase their productivity by finding jobs that fit for developmentally disabled workers, freeing other laborers for more complex tasks.  Do not underestimate their capacities.  Invite them to help you.  They can learn a wide range of job skills and be excellent workers.  Many are very dependable and very capable.  This will help that person develop and achieve their full potential.
  • Mentoring.  Career men and women with disabilities can mentor people with disabilities who are just getting started in a career.  
  • Do light housework/cooking in homes of adults with disabilities
  • Encourage mentally challenged children to engage in rewarding activities like reading, writing, singing, swimming, dancing and playing ball.  
  • Volunteer to care for a disabled child while his/her parents have a night out.
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Spokane Community Resource Help:

Eastern Assistive Technology Resource Center
(Washington Assistive Technology Act Program)
Technology for Independence
Providing resources and expertise to all Washingtonians with disabilities, to aid in making decisions and obtaining the technology and related services needed for employment, education and independent living.  Assistive Technology makes everyday tasks easier or possible.  AT is any item, piece of equipment,or product that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities. 

Developmental Disabilities Division (DDD)
312 W. 8th Avenue
Spokane,. WA   99204
(509) 329-2900, or 477-5722
Hours:  8 am - 5 pm
Support each person with a Developmental Disability to achieve and maintain a full and participating life in their community.

Home Remodeling for People with Disabilities:  What You Need to Know
People living with disabilities, or seniors aging in place, will find advice and resources about how to make their homes more livable and enjoyable.  (article by Expertise, by Michael Sledd, June 17, 2015, 1-877-769-7769, info@expertise.com)

For those with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Parkinson's or just about any other disability who struggle to get dressed in the morning, life just got a whole lot simpler.  MagnaReady provides a magnetically-infused dress shirt that eases dressing for those with limited mobility or dexterity.  By magnetically infusing the buttons on shirts, they have created a product that makes getting dressed both quick and painless. You can even leave the collar magnet "unbuttoned" for a more casual look.  Machine washable, easy to wear clothing is made of high quality wrinkle-free fabric.  These products come in all sizes.  For more information:  (866) 635-8866  http://www.magnaready.com/shop/home.php

Providence Adult Day Health

6018 N Astor
Spokane, WA   99208
Caring for the Elderly and Caregivers.  Providing respite for caregivers, nursing, rehabilitation, case management, and activities for loved ones.