9 Common Types of Physical Disabilities

The traditional definition of a physical disability is a condition that impacts a person’s mobility or dexterity. In addition to physical disabilities, there are other types of physical disabilities whereby an individual is impacted by damage to a part of their body resulting in a disability.

Either way, these different types of disabilities can negatively impact a person’s life and they may need additional equipment or assistance to fully participate in society.

Despite an individual’s disability, it is important that they’re treated with respect and their dignity is preserved. Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help those impacted with disabilities including specialized equipment and government assistance. In today’s world, people with disabilities enjoy wonderful and fulfilling lives because of the support available to them!

Here are the 9 most common types of physical disabilities that people have:

1. Vision Impairment Disability

People who are blind or have partial vision are inflicted with some type of vision impairment disability. There is a range with this type of disability, some may be severely impacted while others only partially blind. Regardless of the severity, vision impairment can impact an individual’s work life, social life and independence.

2. Hearing Impairment Disability

Hearing impairment disability has quite a range as vision impairment does. People can have mild to profound hearing impairment conditions.

Fortunately, individuals with hearing impairment can benefit from a number of strategies and equipment to improve their quality of life. Some strategies include, lip reading, note taking, hearing aids and sign language.

3. Paraplegia, Quadriplegia and Hemiplegia

Paraplegia is a condition where the individual struggles with movement and sensation below the waist. Quadriplegia is a similar condition to paraplegia, however, individuals with this condition struggle with movement and sensation below the neck. Finally, hemiplegia is paralysis of one half of the body.

All three of these physical disabilities result from damage to the brain, spinal cord or both. More specifically, the thoracis, lumbar and sacral spinal cord are to blame for these physical disabilities.

4. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be quite extreme, including fatigue, coordination difficulty, weakness, tingling, inflicted sensation, vision issues, bladder problems, impairment to cognition and mood shifts.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis, although, there are many modes of support in Canada to improve individuals lives with multiple sclerosis.

5. Cerebral Palsy

Impacting children, cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that impacts movement, motor skills and muscle tone. In the majority of cases, cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage that occurred during pregnancy or very shortly after birth.

While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are ample treatment options available that help children and babies suffering from the condition. These treatment options are generally effective and lead to quality lives both in childhood and adulthood.

6. Absent Limb or Reduced Limb Function

Absent limb, also known as amelia, is a birth defect whereby a person is born with one or more limbs missing. It also classifies shrunken or deformed limbs. On the other hand, reduced limb function is a physical disability whereby an individual is unable to use their limbs to their full potential.

As you can imagine, missing or partially functioning limbs can greatly impact your quality of life. However, many suffering from these physical abilities still live great lives once they learn to overcome their limitations.

7. Dystrophy

Dystrophy, also known as muscular dystrophy, is a group of disorders that involves the progressive loss of muscle mass and loss of muscle strength. As the condition worsens, it makes movement increasingly difficult for the sufferer. In some cases, the condition can impact breathing and heart function making the disability life threatening.

Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a way to reverse or prevent muscular dystrophy. That being said, there are different kinds of therapy and drug treatment options to improve the person’s quality of life and delay symptom progression.

8. Polio

Polio is caused by a virus called poliovirus that impacts a person’s brain and spinal cord eventually leading to paralysis. Initially, the symptoms aren’t severe, but over time they become worse.

Polio can be prevented by getting vaccinated, but if already infected, there is no cure. Although, there are supportive treatments available to better your quality of life with polio.

9. Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

Any brain damage or injury that occurs after birth is referred to as an acquired brain injury. There are a number of reasons one may incur an acquired brain injury including infection, disease, oxygen deprivation or trauma to the head. It is important to note that individuals with an acquired brain injury are not suffering from an intellectual disability or mental illness, these are entirely different disabilities.

Individuals suffering from an acquired brain injury can experience mild or severe effects in the long term. Every person is unique, although, some effects are fatigue mentally and physically, slower mental processes, alterations in behavior and personality, alterations in physical and sensory abilities, and challenges with memory, focus and communication.

  • Gretchen is a free-spirited blogger focused on ways to improve her spiritual and emotional health. She uses the MANDALA HEALS blog to dispense advice, tutorials & guides on various topics.

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