Disability is defined as any condition which hinders one’s ability to perform an action or activity by traditional or “normal” methods. Disabilities can include sensory, physical, mental, or self-care impairments which affect a person’s ability to function on a daily basis.
The limitations placed on an individual’s activities by disabilities can range significantly depending on the type of impairment and the severity of one’s condition.
Disabilities often have a profound effect on numerous aspects of an individual’s life, regardless of whether those aspects are directly related to the disabilities or not.
Disabilities Prevelent in United States
The US Census Bureau estimates that there are approximately 77 million people living with disabilities in the United States today.
In 2003, the majority of these individuals were between the ages of 16 and 64 (45.5 million), while the remaining people were over the age of 65 (28.2 million) or between the ages of 5 and 15 (3.6 million).
Other studies suggest nearly eight percent of the population between 18 and 64 years of age reported work limitations caused by disabilities in 2004. Most statistic-gathering agencies state that it is somewhat difficult to determine the exact number of individuals hindered by disabilities in the United States due to discrepancies in evaluation criteria.
Four Types of Disabilities
There are generally four types of disabilities that can limit a person’s ability to function to some degree.
Sensory disabilities can include any impairment which affects one’s vision, hearing, sense of smell, taste or touch.
Physical disabilities can involve any impairment(s) which hinder someone’s ability to complete physical tasks like walking, standing, or any other physical task. These can be the result of physical injuries.
Mental disabilities relate to an individual’s cognitive or, psychological health which can be related to conditions like memory problems, learning disabilities and trouble concentrating. Also related to mental disabilities are psychiatric disorders such as mood, anxiety, and personality.
Self-care disabilities are those that hinder one’s ability to complete tasks like bathing, dressing, and getting around the house.
Affects of Disabilities
While disabilities are classified into these four broad groups, many people with disabilities can be affected by their condition physically, mentally, or even emotionally. Disability is capable of profoundly affecting an individual’s employment, quality of life, education, housing, transportation, healthcare, social experiences, and personal relationships.
Treatment of Disabilities
Treatment of disabilities, designed to allow each individual to reach his/her potential, can include a number of medical and rehabilitative functions. Often a team of professionals facilitates treatment for disabilities. These professionals can include physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, and more.
Contact a Disability Lawyer
When disabilities are the result of an incident caused by another party’s actions or negligence, the injured party has the legal right to seek compensation for their losses and suffering. There are also a number of federal and state laws designed to protect the rights and interests of Americans living with disabilities. If you or a loved one has developed a disability in a personal injury situation or your rights have been violated because of disability, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area.
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