Resources for Faculty - Types of Disabilities
Types of Disabilities
This is a partial list of disabilities for which we may recommend accommodations:
Specific Learning Disability is a general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual, presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction, and may occur across the life span. Problems in self-regulatory behaviors, social perception and social interaction may exist with learning disabilities, but do not, by themselves, constitute a learning disability. Although learning disabilities may occur concomitantly with other disabling conditions (e.g., sensory impairment, mental retardation, serious emotional disturbance) or with extrinsic influences (e.g., cultural differences, insufficient or inappropriate instruction), they are not the result of those conditions or influences (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 1994). A learning disability usually significantly affects at least one of the following areas: listening comprehension, written expression, oral expression, problem solving, reading comprehension, basic reading skills, or mathematical calculation. It is often inconsistent, manifesting problems at different stages throughout life, depending on the learning environment.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological syndrome that is usually genetically transmitted and is characterized by impulsivity, restlessness and distractibility. These characteristics are present from childhood and interfere with everyday functioning. Although no definitive cause has been determined, some scientists suspect that ADHD may be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters (chemicals used by the brain to control behavior) or by abnormal glucose metabolism in the central nervous system.
Hearing Disability is considered any hearing loss of thirty decibels or more, with pure tone average of 500, 1000, 2000 Hz, ANSI, unaided, in the better ear (Florida Statutes, Rule 6A-10.041, FjtC). Examples include, but are not limited to, conductive hearing impairment or deafness, sensor neural hearing impairment or deafness, high or low tone hearing loss or deafness, and acoustic trauma hearing loss or deafness.
Visual Disability is considered any disorder in the structure and function of the eye as manifested by at least one of the following:
- visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye after the best possible correction
- a peripheral field so constricted that it affects one's ability to function in an educational setting, or
- a progressive loss of vision which may affect one's ability to function in an educational setting (Florida Statutes, Rule 6A-10.041, FjtC).
There are three degrees of vision loss:
- With a visual acuity of 20/200, the legally blind person can see at 20 feet what the average-sighted person can see at 200 feet.
- With low vision, the limited or diminished vision cannot be corrected with standard lenses.
- With partial-sighted, the field of vision is impaired because of illness, a degenerative syndrome or trauma. Examples may include, but are not limited to glaucoma, nystagmus, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, strabismus and retinal detachment.
Mobility Disability may be caused by conditions present at birth or may be the result of physical injury. Severity ranges from limitations on stamina (e.g., asthma) to paralysis. Paraplegia, a paralysis of lower extremities and the lower trunk, is caused by injuries to the mid-back. Often, a manual wheelchair is used, with the student having full movement of hands and arms. Quadriplegia, paralysis of the extremities and trunk, is caused by an injury to the neck. These individuals have limited or no use of their hands and arms and, thus, use electric wheelchairs.