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What is Disability? 

The definition of ‘Disability’ under the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is very broad to encompass physical, sensory, mental and intellectual disability.

'Disability', in relation to a person, means:

  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions or
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body or
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness or
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness or
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body or
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from
    a person without the disorder or malfunction or
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour

and includes a disability that:

  • presently exists; or
  • previously existed but no longer exists; or
  • may exist in the future; or
  • is imputed to a person1

Many students may not realise that their condition, illness or injury may be considered a disability under anti-discrimination legislation.

Students with a disability within this definition may be eligible to specialist support and provisions from their further education or training provider.  


1 Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwth) (Aust.).