Disabilities
Basic Information

Disabilities

Welcome to our Disabilities topic center. To have a disability means that one has fundamental difficulty accomplishing things that others take for granted. Disabilities can be physical in nature (an inability to walk due to amputation, or muscular or neurological dysfunction, for example), sensory (as in blindness, or deafness), cognitive (as in brain damage or intellectual disabilities), behavioral (as in an inability to work), or even emotional. This particular disabilities topic center contains mostly references to physical and sensory forms of disability, as other forms are adequately covered in other topic centers.

Physical and sensory disabilities can be major impediments to participating in normal society. As a simple example, consider the computer. Being able to use a computer effortlessly is practically a basic literacy skill required for employment these days. But people who are blind, and people who have lost the ability to use their hands for typ...

 
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What are disabilities and what are their effects on people's lives?

  • To have a disability means that one has fundamental difficulty accomplishing things that others take for granted.
  • Disabilities can be physical in nature (an inability to walk due to amputation, or muscular or neurological dysfunction, for example), sensory (as in blindness, or deafness), cognitive (as in brain damage or mental retardation), behavioral (as in an inability to work), or even emotional.
  • Physical and sensory disabilities can be major impediments to participating in normal society.
  • Disabilities can take a severe psychological toll. It can also easily mean being more isolated from others than one would like to be. And because people are sometimes cruel and/or clueless, disabled persons are often made to feel ‘different’ by others.
  • Grief and loss, a sense of being ‘broken’ or ‘useless’, and self-pity can easily cascade into a diagnosable depression or related mental disorder.
  • For this reason, it is important that persons with disabilities remember to take care of their mental health needs as well as their physical ones.

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Related Topics

Speech Problems
Learning Disorders
Life Issues




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Sarah Dinklage, LICSW
Executive Director

sdinklage@risas.org

Charles Cudworth, MA
Director, SAS

ccudworth@risas.org

Leigh Reposa, MSW, LICSW
Program Manager
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Colleen Judge, LMHC                  Manager, SAS
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Kathleen Sullivan
Manager, Community Prevention
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