View high contrast
Toggle menu
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
RSS
Newsletter
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter

Disability Types

Disability comes in many different forms and affects individuals in very unique ways. Here is a description of the broad categories of disability, frequently used definitions, common examples and sources of further information:

Chronic Medical Conditions:   A medical condition or disease that has been or likely to be long-lasting. Examples: Asthma, Diabetes, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Arthritis

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare http://www.aihw.gov.au/chronic-diseases/

Intellectual disabilities: Refers to an overall cognitive slowness in learning and adaptive skills. Examples: Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability http://www.nswcid.org.au/images/pdfs/what%20is%20intellectual%20disability2.pdf

Learning disabilities: A group of disorders that affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, store, respond to and/or communicate information which creates a difficulty learning in only a couple of specific areas.  Examples: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Scotopic Sensitivity 

National Centre for Learning Disabilities http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/what-is-ld/what-are-learning-disabilities
Australian Federation of Specific Learning Difficulties Associations http://auspeld.org.au/

Mental Health Conditions: A range of conditions that significantly affect how a person feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with problems that can be experienced following stressful life experiences. Examples: Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

SANE Australia www.sane.org
Beyond Blue www.beyondblue.org.au

Neurological conditions: Conditions affecting a person’s nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles. Examples: Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Asperger’s Syndrome

The Brain Foundation http://brainfoundation.org.au
World Health Organisation (WHO): What are neurological disorders? ??

Physical disabilities:  Conditions impacting on a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity, or stamina. A physical disability can be congenital, or acquired as a result of an accident, affects of medical condition and/or medical treatment. Examples: Spinal Cord Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Amputation, Muscoskeletal injuries (eg: back injuries). 

Physical Disability Australia www.pda.org.au

Sensory disabilities: A wide range of impairments affecting one or more senses to varying degrees, including sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste or spatial awareness.  Those with a sight impairment corrected by glasses are often excluded under some anti-disability discrimination legislation. Examples: Hearing impairment, Deafness, Vision impairment, Blindness, Sensory Sensitivity (often a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Vision Australia www.visionaustralia.org
Deaf Australia Inc www.deafau.org.au