There is often a blurred line when discussing disability, as there is often uncertainty surrounding its definition. According to the Equality Act 2010, you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Defining ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’

According to the Equality Act 2010

  • ‘Substantial’ is more than ‘minor or trivial, eg it takes much longer than it usually would complete a daily task like getting dressed.
  • ‘Long-term’ means 12 months or more, eg a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection.

Examples of disability

Mobility and physical impairments 

The causes for the physical disability are undefined. It could include anything that physically affects the body such as limb loss. The physical disability can be congenital or caused because of injury.

Often people with physical impairments will need added support to help their day-to-day lives run smoothly. This support can be anything from a live-in carer, a wheelchair accessible vehicle or a Zimmer frame.

Vision disabilities 

Eye disorders can often lead to a permanent vision disability. These get caused by retinal degeneration, infection, cataracts, and other disorders. Also, visual disabilities can be caused by brain and nerve disorders, resulting in long-term, sometimes irreversible damage.

Psychological disorders 

There has been a debate surrounding mental health disorders getting recognized as a disability. Often, if a disability is not physical people have a hard time recognising the debilitating impact it can have on someone’s wellbeing.

A mental health disorder is counted as a disability if it has a ‘long-term’ effect on your normal day-to-day activity. Some mental health conditions that can lead to a disability are dementia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Brain Disability 

Brain disorders can be caused by external and internal damage to the brain. Examples of these are strokes or infections. Brain disorders can also be caused by degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

Depending on the severity of the brain disorder, it can sometimes be hard to tell when someone is suffering. Often, as the condition begins to worsen physical symptoms will start to show.

Invisible disabilities 

There are thousands of debilitating diseases, disorders, illnesses, and injuries that can affect the lives of so many people. However, not all of these can be seen to the untrained eye. Often, people with an ‘invisible disability’ struggle as many people can’t recognise the incapacitating battles they face daily. It is important to treat each other as equal and offer support, love, and respect to anyone struggling.

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