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1. impairment of function to below the maximal level, either physically or mentally.
2. anything that causes such impairment.
3. the United States Government defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual's major life activities:” this includes both those individuals with a record of an impairment and those regarded as having such an impairment.
4. the World Health Organization defines disability as loss of function at the level of the whole person, which may include inability to communicate or to perform mobility, activities of daily living, or necessary vocational or avocational activities; rehabilitation is aimed at teaching patients to remediate or compensate and thus maximize functional independence. See also handicap and impairment.
developmental disability a substantial handicap in mental or physical functioning, with onset before the age of 18 and of indefinite duration. Examples are autism, cerebral palsy, uncontrolled epilepsy, certain other neuropathies, and mental retardation.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. According to the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (World Health Organization), any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. The term disability reflects the consequences of impairment in terms of functional performance and activity by the person; disabilities thus represent disturbances at the individual level.
2. An impairment or defect of one or more organs or members.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n. pl. disabili·ties
a. A physical or mental condition that significantly limits a person's motor, sensory, or cognitive abilities.
b. The state of having such a condition. discrimination based on disability.
a. A program that provides financial support to people with such conditions: has been on disability for a month.
b. The economic assistance provided by such a program: has been getting disability since the accident.
3. Law Lack of legal capacity to perform some act, such as to enter into a contract, because of infancy or lack of soundness of mind.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Occupational medicine An inability to work because of physical or mental impairment, which precludes performing expected roles or tasks Degree Partial–some types of labor can be performed; total–degree of impairment precludes any type of gainful employment; disability is affected by various factors, including age, education, economic and social environments Social medicine Handicap A limitation in a person's mental or physical ability to function in terms of work, learning or other socially required or relevant activities, to the extent that the person might be regarded as having a need for certain benefits, compensation, exemptions, special training because of said limitations Examples Impaired hearing, mobility, speech, vision, infection with TB, HIV, or etc, malignancy, past Hx of alcohol or drug abuse, mental illness. See Ambulatory disability, Americans with Disabilities Act, Handicap, Learning disability, Reading disability, Reversible ischemic neurologic, Political correctness, Serious emotional or behavioral disability/disorder, Temporary partial disability, Temporary total disability. Cf Impairment.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Diminished capacity to perform a physical or mental function within a prescribed range.
2. An impairment or defect of one or more organs or members.
See also: handicap
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


A term whose definition has been much debated. The current UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reads: ‘Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and active participation in society on an equal basis with others.’ A definition proposed in 2006, subject to WHO approval is: ‘Difficulty in functioning at the body, person or societal levels, in one or more life domains, as experienced by an individual with a health condition in interaction with contextual factors.’
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


According to the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (World Health Organization), any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about disability

Q. Is it true that fibromyalgia is a disability? I haven't worked long enough to draw my regular social security, the fibromyalgia i have had since 1996 keeps me from working, so why can't i get ssi and some health insurance please help me.

A. Fibromyalgia is a relatively new term in the medical world, which primarily is defined by muscle and tissue pain and the etiology, or reason is unknown. Also, sufferers react to pain with a light touch often. Other symptoms include stiff joints and insomnia.

Fibromyalgia is considered a symptom, as this is when a set of symptoms occur together without known cause. A disability, however, is a physical defect or illness that is clearly defined.

Fibromyalgia shares symptoms of those who have a high degree of stress and/or anxiety, so this has been suggested as the cause as well. These links that follow might help more:

About.com: Fibromyalgia - News, information, and support for sufferers of fibromyalgia.
Arthritis Insight-Fibromyalgia - Definition, the symptoms, and how is it diagnosed and treated.
Autonomic (Sympathetic) Nervous System Dysfunction in Fibromyalgia - Fibromyalgia symptoms can be explained by autonomic (sympathetic) nervous system dysfunction
Diagnosis a

Q. What kind of job would suit a person with a disability like arthritis? My Dad is settled in USA, and he suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Can anyone suggest me a job which he can take up, which he can do, without too much of physical work? He is well educated and was a teacher in India, but he is waiting for his certificates to get to USA, to apply for teaching positions.

A. Assuming you don't consider teaching in a classroom too much physical work, he should probably wait for his teaching certificates to clear and then work as a teacher. I meas, why do you feel he should change his career?

Q. Could ADHD be the reason my nine year old can not read or tell the difference between 16 and 60? My nine year old can not read or remember how to spell little words like as and on. She also has major problems with complicated sorting that other child younger then her can do. The school says it is because she is not on medication for her ADHD. She has a younger sister who has ADHD and is not on medication and she is doing well in school. Can ADHD cause all her problems or is there something else going on.

A. I have a 13-year-old child who has ADHD along with learning disabilities including an auditory processing disorder and a working memory disorder (diagnosed in 2nd grade). Not sure if the attention symptoms are because of the learning disabilities, etc. LD goes hand in hand with ADHD and vice verse. A very high percentage of people who have ADHD also have something else going on such as learning disabilities, oppositional defiance disorder, bipolar disorder, etc. My child is 13 now and has always exhibited signs of ADHD, LD and ODD. You should have your child tested at the school level for learning disabilities. Write a letter requesting testing for learning disabilities and give it to your school's principal. The school then has I believe 30 days to respond with testing.This will let you know if your child also has a learning disability going on with the ADHD. It also gives you the option of allowing your child to receive Special Education services in a resource class.

More discussions about disability
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References in periodicals archive ?
In examining the planning implications of mobility impairment, and its relationship to the aging process, it must be understood that low functional mobility is a physical condition, the meaning and consequences of which are shaped and influenced by the natural and built environments.
However, although these correlations were weak, they do provide some preliminary support for the validity of the mobility obstacle course and its use as a measure in outcomes research for people with mobility impairments.
(c) Inappropriate handicapped parking space users were vehicles not driven by or used to transport a person with a mobility impairment but which displayed a handicapped parking permit, and
For simplicity, residents with mobility impairments are denoted with the term "clients" and rehabilitation service providers with the term "providers" throughout the following description of the study's methodology, results, and conclusions.
Future design efforts will involve people with mobility impairments who want something to make it easier to go boating, swimming, fishing and water-skiing.
Researchers are working to develop wearable robotics to help people with mobility impairments, disabilities and agerelated difficulties to move easily and unaided, IANS reported.
Founded in 2010 by Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires, Bionik Laboratories core focus is robotic exoskeleton technology for users with mobility impairments.
"We look forward to working with the college to help us be more aware of how we can reduce the inconvenience to those with visual or mobility impairments when carrying out essential maintenance and improvement works."
The quality of these services suffers from the several impairments mentioned in Section 2.1, as well as from mobility impairments such as the shadowing caused by roadside trees or buildings, multipath effect (primarily caused by mountains or nearby buildings), Doppler effect (which depends on the speed and direction of the movement), and antenna tracking error.
WCC teaches Service Members with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the skill of training mobility service dogs to be partnered with Veterans with mobility impairments. Designed to reduce the symptoms of PTSD in the Warriors who train the dogs - and the great news is, it works!
Handicapped parking spaces can be for people with mobility impairments, so (public entities) would want to make sure such people are able to get to and from their parking space."
In Years 3 and 4 of the project, the evaluators conducted user testing with teachers and students with hearing, vision, and multiple disabilities including mobility impairments, to explore the potential impact that the adapted Teachers' Domain site may have on teachers and students with hearing, vision, mobility impairments and other disabilities.

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