Although we have understandings of a variety of types of disabilities, it is important to acknowledge that each individual has a unique experience with their disability. Thus, the focus must remain on the individual and what their needs are to adapt.
Disabilities affect people differently. Typically, a disability can be physical, neurological, psychological, intellectual, or sensory.
- Physical disabilities affect a person’s mobility, balance, and dexterity.
- Neurological disabilities affect a person’s mental and physical functions.
- Psychological disabilities affect a person’s thinking processes and perceptions of reality.
- Sensory disabilities affect how a person can receive information through sight, sound, touch, etc.
- Intellectual disabilities affect a person’s ability to learn and process information.
You must be careful to not use these categories to label persons with disabilities, however. While they make a good starting point in understanding the vast differences among persons with disabilities, the differences do not end there.
At the Independent Living Resource Centre, we believe that it is not enough to understand the general nature of a particular disability; you also have to consider each individual’s experience with and without their disability. Two individuals diagnosed with the same type of disability may find different aspects challenging, may find different ways of adapting to their disability, and may differ in whether or not they consider themselves to have a disability.