According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person with a disability is one who
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity;
- has a record or history of such an impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
Some major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, learning, seeing, moving, hearing, and speaking.
Disabilities can be divided into three categories:
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) defines a learning disability as “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. Such term includes conditions as perceptual difficulties, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. Such term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.”
People with learning disabilities often have average to above average intelligence. They often face difficulties with spelling, writing, reading comprehension, math computation, and organizational and time management skills.
Physical disabilities include congenital conditions, mobility impairments, and chronic medical conditions.
Some examples are asthma, blindness, deafness, diabetes, cerebral palsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and paralysis.
Psychological disabilities include emotional, cognitive, and behavioral disturbances, as well biochemical/structural brain differences. People with psychological disabilities may require medical treatment or counseling.
Some examples are anxiety disorders, Asperger's Syndrome, autism, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.