BRIEF NOTE OF AWARENESS & DIFFERENT TYPES OF DISABILITIES



Definition of Disability

When most people think of the word “disability” they immediately imagine someone in a wheelchair. But there are many different types of disability. People with a disability may include:

  • People who are blind or partially sighted

  • People with learning or intellectual disabilities

  • People who are deaf or hearing impaired

  • People with a physical disability

  • People with long term illnesses

  • People with mental health or psychological difficulties

  • People with an acquired brain injury

Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.

Types of Disabilities

1) Blindness:
Blindness is a lack or impairment of vision in which maximal visual acuity after correction by refractive lenses is one-tenth normal vision or less in the better eye.
Signs: Impaired vision, Language impairment, Loss of vision, Poor vision, Vision loss, Visual impairment.

2) Low Vision:
A person with low vision has extremely limited sight that interferes with daily activities. Low vision should not be confused with blindness.
Signs: Difficulty in distinguishing colours, reading, distinguishing objects, recognizing faces, seeing objects, seeing signs and posts

Organisations dealing with blindness and low vision

  • National Association for the Blind [NAB], Worli
  • The National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH) – Dehradun,


  • 3) Leprosy-Cured:
    Leprosy cured person means any person who has been cured of leprosy but is suffering from-
    • Loss of sensation in hands or feet as well as loss of sensation and paresis in the eye and eye-lid but with no manifest deformity;

    • Manifest deformity and paresis; but having sufficient mobility in their hands and feet to enable them to engage in normal economic activity;

    • Extreme physical deformity as well as advanced age which prevents him from undertaking

    Signs – Severe pain ,Muscle weakness especially in the hands and feet, Skin stiffness and dryness, Loss of fingers and toes, eye problems which lead to blindness, enlarged nerves especially those around the elbow and knee.

    Organisations dealing with Leprosy cured:
    Leprosy Cure Foundation, Bandra (E), Mumbai

    4) Hearing Impairment:
    Hearing impairment or hard of hearing or deafness refers to conditions in which individuals are fully or partially unable to detect or perceive at least some frequencies of sound which can typically be heard by most people. Mild hearing loss may sometimes not be considered a disability.
    Signs – Muffled hearing.Difficulty understanding what people are saying, especially when there are competing voices or background noise. You may be able to hear someone speaking, but you cannot distinguish the specific words.Listening to the television or radio at higher volume than in the past.

    Avoiding conversation and social interaction. Social situations can be tiring and stressful if you do not hear well. You may begin to avoid those situations as hearing becomes more difficult. Depression. Many adults may be depressed because of how hearing loss is affecting their social life.

    Organisation dealing with hearing impaired
    Ali Yavar Jung National Institute For The Hearing Handicapped [AYJNIHH], Bandra (W), Mumbai

    5) Loco Motor Disability:
    Loco motor disability means disability of the bones, joints muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs or any form of cerebral palsy.
    Signs Paralysis,Unsteady movements of limbs,poor muscle control,loss of limb

    Organisation dealing with Loco-Motor Disability
    National Institute of Orthopedically Handicapped [NIOH]

    6) Mental Retardation:
    Mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18.

    Signs

    • Continued infant-like behaviour

    • Decreased learning ability

    • Failure to meet the markers of intellectual development

    • Inability to meet educational demands at school

    • Lack of curiosity

    Organisations dealing with Mental Retardation:
    NIMH – National Institute For Mentally Handicapped, Belapur, Navi Mumbai.

    7) Mental Illness :
    Mental illness is any of the various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioural functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, mental disorder.
    Signs – Self-destructive actions and withdrawal or distrust of friends and family, Short temper and argumentative, Loss of interest in daily activities, Inability to concentrate, Decline in academic, athletic or job performance, Deterioration of personal appearance and hygiene, Excessive changes in sleeping or wakefulness and appetite, Excessive seeking of approval, Excessive writing of nonsensical or disconnected thoughts and words

    Organisations dealing with mental illness:
    Action for Mental Illness [ACMI]

    8) Cerebral Palsy:
    Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions, such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking.
    Signs: Muscles that are very tight and do not stretch. They may tighten up even more over time. Abnormal walk, arms tucked in toward the sides, knees crossed or touching, legs make "scissors"
    movements, walk on the toes. Joints are tight and do not open up all the way. Muscle weakness or loss of movement in a group of muscles (paralysis). The symptoms may affect one arm or leg, one side of the body, both legs, or both arms and legs.

    Organizations dealing with Cerebral Palsy:
    Adapt (formerly The Spastics Society of India)
    National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD), Chennai

    9) Autism: Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the normal development of brain and impairs social and communication skills.
    Signs: Be overly sensitive in sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste, Have unusual distress when routines are changed, Perform repeated body movements, Show unusual attachments to objects

    Organisations dealing with Autism:
    - Forum For Autism – Delhi, Mumbai

    10) Learning Disabilities:
    A condition giving rise to difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the normal level expected of those of the same age.
    Signs:Short attention span, Poor memory, Difficulty following directions, Inability to discriminate, between/among letters, numerals, or sounds, Poor reading and/or writing ability,Eye-hand coordination problems; poorly coordinated ,Difficulties with sequencing ,Disorganization and other sensory difficulties

    Organizations dealing with Learning Disabilities:
    Sapling, Little Angels School, Sion, Mumbai

    11) Epilepsy:
    Epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures. There are different types of epilepsy and seizures. Epilepsy drugs are prescribed to control seizures, and rarely surgery is necessary if medications are ineffective.
    Signs: Causing convulsions and staring continuously without reason. Stiffening of the arms and legs, following by jerking motions. People may wander, mumble, smack their lips, or fumble with their clothes. They appear to be conscious to observers, but are actually unaware of what they are doing.

    Organizations dealing with epilepsy:
    Epilepsy Foundation, New Marine Lines, Mumbai.

    Epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures. There are different types of epilepsy and seizures. Epilepsy drugs are prescribed to control seizures, and rarely surgery is necessary if medications are ineffective.
    Signs: Causing convulsions and staring continuously without reason. Stiffening of the arms and legs, following by jerking motions. People may wander, mumble, smack their lips, or fumble with their clothes. They appear to be conscious to observers, but are actually unaware of what they are doing.

    Organizations dealing with epilepsy:
    Epilepsy Foundation, New Marine Lines, Mumbai.

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