Types of disabilites

Disability arises from the environment, not the person. Poor design is what makes a person not able to access web content, not their disability.

It is helpful to think of abilities and disabilities on a continuum. A disability does not have an on/off switch.

We all live on a continuum of being able and unable to perform tasks.

graphic demonstrating that everyone lives on the disability continuum

Read print,
Use a mouse,
Write with pen or pencil,
Communicate verbally,
Tune out distraction,
Manage physical/mental health

People live on a spectrum from totally blind, legally blind, see color, need glasses, and a few lucky people have 20/20 vision. As people age through life they drift farther away from the "able" side.

If a person has access to glasses society generally does not consider it to be a disability. If that person is denied access to glasses, then they have a disability.

What is the definition of disability under the ADA?

It is important to remember that in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “disability” is a legal term rather than a medical one. Because it has a legal definition, the ADA’s definition of disability is different from how disability is defined under some other laws.

The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.