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Characteristics of Persons with Learning Disorders in Central Wisconsin who Suffer Agricultural Injuries

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health 3(1):7-12. (doi: 10.13031/2013.17746) @1997
Authors:   D. Stueland, P. Gunderson
Keywords:   Farming, Injuries, Learning disability

Persons with learning disabilities (mental retardation, hyperactivity disorder, or a language learning disorder) who suffered agricultural injuries during a two-year period of observation (1 May 1990 through 30 April 1992) were identified. Their charts were reviewed for evidence of injuries both before and after that time period. These 28 individuals, who suffered 31 agricultural injuries during those two years, were predominately male (27; 96.4%) with a mean age of 20.16 years at the time of the index injury. Fifteen (53.6%) were farm residents. In addition to the identified conditions, six (21.4%) individuals had prior head injuries and three (10.7%) had prior diagnoses of substance abuse, depression, or asthma. In evaluating the factors associated with injury, 18 (64.3%) of the total were injured while working, and 9 (32.2%) were associated with cattle. A spectrum of injuries were seen with the most common being contusions, lacerations, and sprains. In addition to the index injuries, there were 239 additional injuries of which 35 (14.6%) were agricultural related. Before, during, and after the two-year period of observation, nonfarm residents had more injuries per person than did farm residents. Although there was no overall difference between the number of injuries per person for those with hyperactivity and those with a learning disability but not hyperactivity, the number of agricultural related injuries were actually less in those with hyperactivity. All injuries tended to be more common in those with mental retardation than those with other learning disability.

Risk factors and pattern of injury for those with these learning disabilities depend on the specific diagnoses. In addition, agricultural injuries were recognized as only a small part of the overall trauma. Efforts at reducing agricultural injuries in this special group will need to recognize that occupational injuries, including agricultural injuries, are only part of a substantial injury pattern for these individuals.

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