A Guide to the various Types of Disabilities : Alma Chopra

Types of Disabilities

We have spoken about the rehabilitation of disabled people, diversity and inclusion of disabled people, even the best movies around disability, vacation spots for disabled people. Still, we have never listed the types of disabilities on this blog. So today, I want to create an awareness post on the types of disabilities.

There will be more than 5, but we will touch upon all of them briefly.

1. Physical Disabilities

2. Visual Disabilities

3. Hearing Disabilities

4. Mental Health Disabilities

5. Intellectual Disabilities

6. Learning Disabilities

Let us talk about them one by one.

Physical Disabilities

These will include physiological, functional, and mobility impairments. Physical disabilities could be fluctuating or intermittent, chronic, progressive or stable, visible or invisible. These disabilities may cause variance in pain, if at all.

The progressive ones could be –

  • Multiple Sclerosis – is a neurological deterioration.
  • Muscular Dystrophy – is a muscular disorder.
  • Chronic Arthritis – inflammation of the joints, which could be rheumatoid or osteoporosis

The Non-progressive ones could be –

  • Cerebral Palsy – it is a neurological condition.
  • Spinal Bifida – is a congenital malformation of the spinal cord.
  • Spinal Cord Injury – it is neurological damage resulting from trauma.
  • Fibromyalgia – which is a chronic pain condition
  • Ataxia and its forms – It is a neurological disease (the one that I have) that affects coordination, gait, and balance and affects speech too.

Visual Disabilities

If you have come across the term “Legally Blind,” it refers to an individual with 10% or less normal vision. You may be surprised that only 10% of people with a visual disability are entirely blind. The other 90% usually have a “Visual Impairment.”

A lot of reasons can be attributed to the loss of vision.

  • Cataracts – it happens with old age, usually where the vision gets cloudy.
  • Diabetes – it progressively diminishes eyesight.
  • Glaucoma – is the loss of peripheral vision.
  • Macular Degeneration – is the technical term for blurred central vision.
  • Retinal Detachment – refers to the overall loss of vision.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa – is progressive blindness.

Hearing Disabilities

While people use it very loosely, the word dead is referred to someone who has severe to profound loss of hearing. “Deafened” is described as an individual who has acquired a hearing loss during their adult life.

There are some cases where the patient has both a loss of sight and hearing, and they are called “Deaf-Blind” “Hard of Hearing” describes an individual who uses their residual hearing and speech to communicate.

Mental Health Disabilities

Mental health disabilities can take several forms, just as physical disabilities do. Most people go undetected because even in 2021, speaking about mental health is taboo. The UN states that depression is now a chronic illness, and suicide deaths have the world’s highest mortality rates. Even when celebrities are coming forward with their struggles, there is still very little awareness around mental health disorders.

However, not all is lost because most mental illnesses are treatable, unlike many physical diseases.

Mental Health Disorders are generally classified into six categories:

  • Schizophrenia – It is the most severe form of mental illness. Patients hallucinate, develop trust issues.
  • Mood Disorders (Depression) – These affect more than 10% of the world population. Depression is the most common mood disorder. You may visit therapists and not take these lightly.
  • Anxiety Disorders include phobias and panic disorder, and (OCD) or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  • Eating Disorders –  anorexia nervosa and bulimia which are are most common in men and women under 30. The added pressure of looking pretty and model-like at all times makes this condition even worse than ever before.
  • Personality Disorders – While there are many different personality disorders. The patients cannot have adequate social, interpersonal relationships. They typically go undetected.
  • Organic Brain Disorders – While these disorders affect about 1% of people. They result from physical diseases or injury to the brain like Alzheimer’s, Stroke, and Dementia.

Intellectual Disabilities

These may be characterized by overall intellectual development and the significantly below-average capacity, involving a permanent limitation in a person’s ability to learn.

The causes of Intellectual / Developmental disabilities could include

Any condition that impairs the development of the brain before birth, during birth, or in childhood years

Genetic conditions

  • Any illness affecting the mother during pregnancy
  • Use of alcohol or drugs by expecting mothers

Childhood diseases

  • Poverty — Malnourishment in the lower sections of the society can lead to intellectual disability because of bad health conditions and inadequate medical care.  Learning Disabilities

It is essentially a specific and persistent disorder of a person’s CNS (Central Nervous System) affecting the overall learning process. This impacts a person’s ability to interpret what they see and hear or associate information from their brain’s different parts.

Common indicators of learning disabilities are a mismatch between the individual’s potential (aptitudes and intellectual capacity) and their actual achievement level. Having a learning disability should not be considered someone’s failure in learning. Instead, they learn differently. Many people with a learning disability may develop their strategies to compensate for or to circumvent their difficulties.

I know this was a heavy post, but it is important to know the roots of these disabilities.

I will see you guys in the next post.