Disabilities come in all form, but before we analyze the types of disabilities, it may be helpful to have a definition of the word.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a disability is any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or interact with the world around them. That’s a broad definition that encompasses many different types of health conditions.

Disabilities can also effect people in many different ways. Sometimes the same condition is hidden, or considered an invisible disability.

The Types of Disabilities

The CDC organizes disabilities into these categories:

  • Vision
  • Movement
  • Thinking
  • Remembering
  • Learning
  • Communication
  • Hearing
  • Mental health
  • Social relationships

This organization and broad definition result in a diverse group of people with a wide array of needs. Disabilities can also impact people to varying degrees. For example, many with autoimmune conditions may have an invisible illness, while others may require a wheelchair to move.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 15 percent of the global population, or over 1 billion people, live with some form of disability. Of those 1 billion, 2 to 4 percent have difficulty functioning. This segment of the population often requires wheelchairs, stairlifts, hearing aids, or other medical devices designed to aid them through everyday life. This number is expected to double within the next 30 years.

Statistically, women are more likely to experience disability, and older people are more likely than young. Socioeconomics also play into it.

In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with all types of disabilities. It prohibits discrimination of all people with disabilities in public life including jobs, transportation, schools, and any places that might be open to the American public. This gives a broad group of people a wide range of basic rights.