Portal:Disability

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Introduction

A disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's 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. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.

— World Health Organization, Disabilities

Disability is a contested concept, with different meanings in different communities. 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 imposed on people by the constraints of an ableist society (the social model). Or the term may serve to refer to the identity of disabled people. Physiological functional capacity (PFC) is a related term that describes an individual's performance level. It gauges one's ability to perform the physical tasks of daily life and the ease with which these tasks are performed. PFC declines with advancing age to result in frailty, cognitive disorders or physical disorders, all of which may lead to labeling individuals as disabled.

The discussion over disability's definition arose out of disability activism in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1970s, which challenged how the medical concept of disability dominated perception and discourse about disabilities. Debates about proper terminology and their implied politics continue in disability communities and the academic field of disability studies. In some countries, the law requires that disabilities are documented by a healthcare provider in order to assess qualifications for disability benefits.

Selected article

People with Asperger's often display intense interests, such as this boy's fascination with molecular structure.
Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. As a milder autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it differs from other ASDs by relatively normal language and intelligence. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language are common. Signs usually begin before two years old and typically last for a person's entire life.


The exact cause of Asperger's is unknown. While it is probably partly inherited, the underlying genetics have not been determined conclusively. Environmental factors are also believed to play a role. Brain imaging has not identified a common underlying problem. The diagnosis of Asperger's was removed in the 2013 fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and people with these symptoms are now included within the autism spectrum disorder along with autism and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). It remains within the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) as of 2015.


There is no single treatment, and the effectiveness of particular interventions is supported by only limited data. Treatment is aimed at improving poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines and physical clumsiness. Interventions may include social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, parent training and medications for associated problems such as mood or anxiety. Most children improve as they grow up, but social and communication difficulties usually persist. Some researchers and people on the autism spectrum have advocated a shift in attitudes toward the view that autism spectrum disorder is a difference rather than a disease that must be treated or cured.


Selected biography

Joseph Carey Merrick (5 August 1862 – 11 April 1890), sometimes incorrectly referred to as John Merrick, was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man. He became well known in London society after he went to live at the London Hospital. Merrick was born in Leicester and began to develop abnormally during the first few years of his life. His skin appeared thick and lumpy, he developed an enlargement of his lips, and a bony lump grew on his forehead. One of his arms and both feet became enlarged and at some point during his childhood he fell and damaged his hip, resulting in permanent lameness. When he was 11, his mother died and his father soon remarried. Merrick left school at 12, and had difficulty finding employment. Rejected by his father and stepmother, he left home. In late 1879, aged 17, Merrick entered the Leicester Union workhouse.

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The Disability WikiProject is a project that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Disability related articles. The aim of this project is to co-ordinate the improvement and creation of articles.

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