Disability

A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or effectively interact with the world around them (socially or materially). These conditions, or impairments, may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or a combination of multiple factors. Impairments causing disability may be present from birth or can be acquired during a person's lifetime. Often, disabled people are "unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society."[1] As a result of impairments, people with disabilities can experience disablement from birth, or may be labeled as disabled during their lifetime.

Disability symbols

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines disability as:

long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder [a person's] full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.[2]

Disability is a contested concept, with shifting meanings in different communities.[3] It has been referred to as an "embodied difference,"[4] but the term may also refer to physical or mental attributes that some institutions, particularly medicine, view as needing to be fixed (the medical model). It may also refer to limitations imposed on people by the constraints of an ableist society (the social model); or the term may serve to refer to the identity of disabled people. Physiological functional capacity (PFC) is a measure of an individual's performance level that gauges one's ability to perform the physical tasks of daily life and the ease with which these tasks are performed. PFC declines with age and may result to frailty, cognitive disorders, or physical disorders, all of which may lead to labeling individuals as disabled.[5] According to the World Report on Disability, 15% of the world's population or 1 billion people are affected by disability.[6] A disability may be readily visible, or invisible in nature.


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