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A physical disability is any disability which limits the physical function of one or more limbs. Other physical disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living, such as respiratory disorders, blindness and epilepsy.[1]

Causes of physical disabilities

Prenatal causes: Those disabilities that are acquired before birth. These may be due to diseases that have harmed the mother during pregnancy, embryonic or fetal developmental accidents or genetic disorders.

Perinatal causes: Those disabilities that are acquired during birth. This could be due to prolonged lack of oxygen or the obstruction of the respiratory tract, damage to the brain during birth (due to the accidental misuse of forceps, for example) or the baby being born prematurely.

Post-natal causes: Those disabilities gained after birth. They can be due to accidents, infection or other illnesses.

Types of physical disabilities

Mobility impairment is a category of disability that includes people with varying types of physical disabilities. This type of disability includes upper limb disability, manual dexterity and disability in co-ordination with different organs of the body. Disability in mobility can either be a congenital or acquired with age problem. This problem could also be the consequence of some disease. People who have a broken skeletal structure also fall into this category of disability.

Visual impairment is another type of physical impairment. There are hundreds of thousands of people that greatly suffer from minor to various serious vision injuries or impairments. These types of injuries can also result in some severe problems or diseases like blindness and ocular trauma. Some of the common types of vision impairments include scratched cornea, scratches on the sclera, diabetes-related eye conditions, dry eyes and corneal graft, Maculare degeneration due to old age, retinal detachment. Hearing impairment is the category of physical impairment that includes people that are completely or partially deaf. People who are only partly deaf can sometimes make use of hearing aids to improve their hearing ability.

Stigma management

Individuals with physical disabilities often experience stigma concerning their physical competence and bodily appearance. This leads to impairment in social interactions and devaluation of an individual. Diane E. Taub, Elaine M. Blinde, and Kimberly R. Greer examined if involvement in sport and physical activity may help to manage stigma among people with physical disabilities. Twenty-four male college students with physical disabilities were interviewed on how they feel about involvement in physical activities. The study found that such participation in sport and physical activity helps manage stigma associated with a disabled body by demonstrating a fit, healthy, muscular, and liberated body. Thus, their involvement in sport and physical activity help them to reduce discrediting attributes toward disabled bodies.[2]

See also


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