What is disability?

Disability is a term used to describe a physical, cognitive, or sensory attribute affecting a child’s day-to-day activities. • a disability may form a small or a large part of a child’s life as he or she develops in childhood to become an adult • although the language we use to describe disabilities may seem specific, in reality disabilities label a varied group of conditions • quality-of-life is not the same thing as disability such that many children with disabilities still enjoy good quality-of-life

Physical disability

• Children with physical disabilities have limitations in control or movement of their body affecting their ability to sit, walk, or use their hands. Usually children with severe physical disabilities need a wheelchair for mobility and assistance from others on a day-to-day basis. • Children with moderate physical disabilities are generally able to walk and engage in other physical activities. These children may or may not use devices like a cane or walker for stability or mobility.

Cognitive disability

• Children with cognitive disabilities often have challenges in their speech, problem-solving, memory, self-control, and other mental skills. If these disabilities are severe they may be unable to produce few if any words or signs for expression, and may have challenges understanding cues or language. • Children with moderate cognitive disabilities may have challenges in daily living skills or social skills such that although they generally have some ways of communicating with language or signs, most need the supports afforded by living in a group home or with their parents as adults.

Hearing disability

• Children with hearing disability have limitiations in their hearing. If the disability is severe they are unable to hear even with assistive technologies such as hearing aids or other assistive technologies. • Children with moderate hearing disability require hearing aids or other assistive technologies that may or may not completely correct their hearing impairment.

Vision disability

• Children with vision disability have limitations in their vision. If the disability is severe they are classified as either near blind or blind. • Children with moderate vision disability have reduced vision that cannot be completely corrected with glasses.