Disabilities Types: The Various Types of Disabilities

In order to understand the true meaning of disability, it is helpful to know the many different types of disabilities and all their sub-categories. Once a disability type is identified with, it becomes easier to understand and research it further. Technology has come a long way and various forms of assistive devices are now available for all these disability types. Help is provided in various forms to ease the load off individuals suffering from these various types of disabilities.

Different Types of Disabilities:

“A disability”, according to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”. This is a very broad definition of a disability. There are numerous types of disabilities which affect millions of individuals every day. Some may be acquired at birth, or it may be acquired slowly with growth, or others still may have been caused by an accident of some sort. No matter what disability type one belongs to, each of them have their own set of inhibitors and difficulties. Some of the commonly known categories and types of disabilities are:

Visual Disability: This type of disability may include sub-categories of :

  • far-sightedness or near-sightedness
  • complete blindness
  • or color blindness.

This disability type can range widely in severity. While millions of people suffer from minor eye problems, many others still, face the severe visual impairment of loss of complete vision or color from their eyes.

Hearing Impairment: A person suffering from hearing impairments can be considered :

  • Partially deaf, if they are hard of hearing. Varying degrees of hearing aids are available to assists such individuals to hear well.
  • Or completely deaf, when they are unable to listen to any kind of sound or noise. Sign language is often the only kind of language used to communicate with such individuals.
  • Physical Disabilities: There are many different types of disabilities that fall under this category. A disability is considered physical when it restricts any kind of mobility in a person. The most commonly experienced disability types within this category are:
    – Loss of limbs or any other part of the body that restricts movement
    – Injury to the Spinal Cord that leaves the individual wheelchair ridden
    – Arthritis
    – Stroke
    – Paralyzed arms and legs, also known as Quadriplegia
    – Cerebral Palsy

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities: Similar to physical disabilities, cognitive and learning disabilities encompass a wide range of different types of disabilities under it. This type of disability limits brain functions of an individual. It hinders mental growth and individuals suffering from it usually have a hard time in thinking, solving, expressing and languages. Some of the commonly known disability types within this category are:

  • Dyslexia: affects ability to read
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): loss in ability to concentrate
  • Down’s Syndrome: Mental retardation
  • Autism: Neurological disorder resulting in reduced social interaction
  • Dysgraphia: affects ability to write

Acquired Disability: This type of disability is generally acquired at virtually anytime and is not restricted or dependent on any particular gender, ethnicity or age group. It can affect almost anybody, though it is often more commonly found in concentrated regions. Acquired disabilities too can be split into sub-categories of different types of disabilities. The commonly known ones are:

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Multiple Sclerosis: Disorder of the Central Nervous System
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: A progressive loss in memory

Various types of disabilities affect individuals all over the world. There are so many divisions of these disability types in numerous categories that it becomes impossible to name all of them. However, it is helpful to know the type of disability group one belongs to in order to identify with that category. Each of these disability types differ greatly, but all individuals who experience them face tremendous hardships. Help is available in various forms to make lives a little easier for individuals facing these different types of disabilities.


  1. For parents of visually impaired children – Family Connect
  2. Types of Disability – Disabled World


  1. Thank you for your submission of this article. This type of information is not easy to find, anywhere. I find that in the life of being physically and mentally impaired, is awful. People don’t understand what you go through. I have become a recluse. Sometimes I just want to take off and leave, find a better place to live. Its extremely difficult being disabled, regular people are always looking for a way to say “there’s nothing wrong with her” etc. The government send their spies too. When can a person breathe. The truth is I take more than 10 pills per day because of my disabilities. Because of you, I get to understand what the label “being disabled” means a lot better. The information you submitted provides education, comfort and reassurance to other disabled people as well. I just wanted to say thanks.

  2. I have Hepatitis C & Fibromyalgia. I’ve had Hep C since 1984 & was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2004. I have been too ill with fluctuating conditions for some years and have claimed benefits. Am I classed as disabled and should I register this with my local council?

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