Disability

What is disability?

A disability is any continuing condition that restricts everyday activities. The Disability Services Act (1993) defines ‘disability’ as meaning a disability:

  • which is attributable to an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairment or a combination of those impairments
  • which is permanent or likely to be permanent
  • which may or may not be of a chronic or episodic nature
  • which results in substantially reduced capacity of the person for communication, social interaction, learning or mobility and a need for continuing support services.


With the assistance of appropriate aids and services, the restrictions experienced by many people with a disability may be overcome.

Types of disability

The main categories of disability are physical, sensory, psychiatric, neurological, cognitive and intellectual. Many people with disability have multiple disabilities.

A physical disability is the most common type of disability, followed by intellectual and sensory disability. Physical disability generally relates to disorders of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems.

Sensory disability involves impairments in hearing and vision.

Neurological and cognitive disability includes acquired disability such as multiple sclerosis or traumatic brain injury. Intellectual disability includes intellectual and developmental disability which relate to difficulties with thought processes, learning, communicating, remembering information and using it appropriately, making judgments and problem solving. Intellectual disability is the result of interaction between developmentally attributable cognitive impairment, attitudinal and environmental barriers.

Psychiatric disorders resulting in disability may include anxiety disorders, phobias or depression.

Cerebral Palsy in Children

WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?

Cerebral Palsy is a term used to cover several neurological conditions.

These conditions are caused beforeduring or shortly after birth as a result of injury to the brain due to any of the following reasons:Limited or interrupted oxygen supply to the brainA bleed within the baby’s brain
A premature or difficult birth processThe mother catching an infection whilst pregnantChanges in genes which affect the development of the brain 
Cerebral Palsy can affect muscle control, coordination, and tone, reflexes, posture and balance. Often a person with Cerebral Palsy will display signs of the condition, but the effects can vary greatly from person to person
‘Cerebral Palsy’ comes from the Latin words ‘Cerebrum’ and ‘Paralysis’

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CEREBRAL PALSY?

The NHS describes three different categories of Cerebral Palsy, it is also possible to have a combination of categories which is referred to as ‘Mixed Cerebral Palsy’.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy
This affects muscle stiffness or weakness. Click here to learn more.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
This affects muscle tone, causing involuntary spasms. Click here to learn more.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
This affects balance and coordination. Click here to learn more.

The affect Cerebral Palsy has on individuals ranges from the very mild, to more severe cases that can make it difficult for people to control their limbs.