Disability has been defined in different ways. Besides the definition has also evolved with the change in the way disability is understood. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), provides a holistic definition of disability. According to ICF (2001), "Disability is an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It denotes the negative aspects of the interaction between the individual (with a health condition) and that individual's contextual factors (environmental and personal factors)."
The ICF definition gives a perspective towards health and disability. According to ICF, every individual does experience some kind of decrement in health during his/her lifetime.
Disability is not something that happens to minority of humanity. The ICF mainstreams disability and recognizes it as universal human experience. Besides, ICF also emphasizes on disability as not a result of individual's health condition but a result of social and contextual factors. Thus, it gives the concept a new dimension by also looking at the impact that it creates on the individual from various different sources of society.
According to UNCRPD (2007), Disability results from the interaction between a non inclusive society and individuals. The Preamble of the Convention states that "disability is an evolving concept, and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that affects full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others." Article 1 of the Convention states that "Persons with disabilities include those who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others."
One thing that is clear from the above definition that disability is a societal construct. It is not the physical or mental impairment of the person but the societal barriers that comes on the way of participation of people in the development process. Though the impairment of the person is biological but the way it is perceived and understood by the society, it becomes a disability. UNCRPD emphasizes on equal rights and treatment of people with disabilities as any other individual. Using the social model and human rights policy the Convention talks about the protection and promotion of rights of persons with disabilities.
According to the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD), 1995, a person with disability is defined as a person suffering from not less than 40 % of any disability as certified by the medical authorities.
Categories of Disabilities
2. Low Vision
4. Hearing impairment
5. Loco motor disability
6. Mental Retardation
7. Mental Illness
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