Disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these that result in restrictions on an individual ability to participate in what is considered "normal" in their everyday society. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person lifetime.
Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus, disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a personís body and features of the society in which he or she lives.
Disability is a contested concept, with different meanings for different communities. On the one hand, it may be used to refer to physical or mental attributes that some institutions, particularly medicine, view as needing to be fixed (the medical model); it may refer to limitations on participation in social life imposed on people by the constraints of an ablest society (the social model); or the term may serve to name a social identity claimed by people with disabilities in order to mark their shared goals and politics.
which challenged how medical conceptions of human variation dominated popular discourse about disabilities and how these were reflected in common terminology (e.g., "handicapped," "cripple"). In many countries the law requires that disabilities be clearly categorized and defined in order to assess which citizens qualify for disability benefits.
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