Disability is commonly understood to be ‘the functional consequence of impairment in the body or human functioning’. It may or may not be visible. It may be sensory (e.g. deafness), neurological (e.g. epilepsy), physical (e.g. paraplegia), mental, psychiatric, emotional, an intellectual impairment, or the result of an acquired brain injury.
Disability may be:
- inherited: through genetic transmission or resulting from a genetic defect or mutation;
- congenital: resulting from an infection, injury or abnormal development during pregnancy, or from an injury sustained during delivery or soon after birth;
- acquired: as in a motor vehicle accident, or through disease or substance abuse;
- of unknown origin; or
- caused: by ageing, poor health, bad nutrition, environmental and social conditions, and/or individual choices, often extending over decades.