Types of Disability

Mobility and Physical Impairments:

This category of disability includes people with varying types of impairments that impact on how the individual moves. Physical impairments can impact on; Upper limb(s), Lower limb(s), Manual dexterity.

You can either be born with a mobility disability, or acquired one due to an accident, illness or through aging. People who have a broken bone also fall into this category of disability.


Spinal Cord Injury:

Spinal cord injury (SCI) can sometimes lead to lifelong disabilities. This kind of injury mostly occurs due to severe accidents. The injury can be either complete or incomplete. In an incomplete injury, the messages conveyed by the spinal cord are not completely lost, whereas a complete injury results in a total dis-functioning of the sensory organs. In some cases spinal cord disability can be a birth defect.


Head/brain injury:

A disability in the brain occurs due to a brain injury. The magnitude of the brain injury can range from mild, moderate and severe. Acquired brain injury
(ABI) disorder is brain damage caused by events after birth, rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder. ABI usually affects cognitive, physical, emotional, social or independent functioning and can result from either traumatic brain injury (e.g. physical trauma due to accidents, falls, assaults, neurosurgery etc.) or non-traumatic injury derived from either an internal or external source (e.g. stroke, brain tumours, infection, poisoning, or substance abuse).

Vision Impairment:

There are hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from minor to serious vision impairments. These injuries can also result into some serious problems or diseases such as blindness and ocular trauma. Some of the common vision impairment includes scratched cornea, scratches on the sclera, diabetes related eye conditions, dry eyes and corneal graft. Vision impairments are quite common with a large number of the population using contact lenses or glasses.


Hearing Impairment:

Hearing impairments includes people that are completely or partially deaf, (Deaf or hard-of-hearing are the politically correct terms for a person with hearing impairment).

People who are partially deaf can often use hearing aids to assist their hearing. Deafness can be evident at birth or occur later in life from several biologic causes, for example Meningitis can damage the auditory nerve or the cochlea.

Deaf people use sign language as a means of communication. Hundreds of sign languages are in use around the world. In linguistic terms, sign languages are as rich and complex as any oral language, despite the common misconception that they are not “real languages”.


Balance disorders:

A balance disorder is a disturbance that causes an individual to feel unsteady, for example when standing or walking. It may be accompanied by symptoms of being giddy, woozy, or have a sensation of movement, spinning, or floating. Balance is the result of several body systems working together. The eyes (visual system), ears (vestibular system) and the body’s sense of where it is in space (proprioception) need to be intact.

Developmental impairment:

Developmental impairment is any impairment that results in problems with growth and development. Although the term is often used as a synonym or euphemism for intellectual disability e.g. downs syndrome, the term also encompasses many congenital medical conditions that have no mental or intellectual components, for example spina bifida.


Cognitive impairment:

“Cognition” refers to “understanding” – the ability to comprehend what you see and hear, and to infer information from social cues and body language. People with these impairments may have trouble learning new things, making generalizations from one situation to another, and expressing themselves through spoken or written language.


Specific Learning Disability:

A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations”. Learning disabilities do not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; mental retardation; or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

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