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Governor's Commission on Disability

Disability Types

Various entities have their own definition of "disability". For instance, the Social Security Administration has a very strict definition which states that to be found "disabled", you must be unable to do any substantal work because of your medical condition(s), and your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last at least one year, or be expected to result in your death. The IDEA provides for special education accommodations for a person whose performance or ADL (activities of daily living) are adversely affected due to the disability. The ADA definition of disability includes (1) having a condition which prevents the performance of one or more ADLs (activities of daily living); (2) having a history of having such a condition; and (3) being perceived as having such a condition.

Our purpose here is only to provide information about some of the conditions that may affect a persons ability to perform the activities of daily living, not to determine if having a medical condition makes someone eligible for any programs or services. Each individual's various bodily functions may or may not be affected to the extent that their limitations are disabling. Much depends upon their self-perception and determination to overcome challenges. When there is a significant disorder in any of the body systems, either because of genetics, illness or injury, it may result in chronic health conditions or disability.

Some Common Disorders:

Acquired or Traumatic Brain Disorders - An Acquired Brain Injury comes from something internal to the brain, such as an aneurysm or drug abuse. A Traumatic Brain Injury comes from something external to the brain, such as a blow to the head or percussion from an explosion.

Allergies - All allergies are not disabling. It depends upon the extent to which the effect of the allergy interferes with activities of daily living.

Amputation - Severing of a limb or organ of the body.

Arthritis - Juvenile Arthritis (JA), Osteoarthritis (OA), Psoriatic Arthritis (PA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Lupus:Resources: Arthritis Foundation, Resources, Lupus Foundation of America,

Autism Spectrum Disorders - ASD is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects educational performance. Characteristics often associated with autism are engaging in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to changes in daily routines or the environment, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. ASD is called a spectrum disorder because there is a broad range, or spectrum, across which the symptoms may appear. It includes Aspergers Syndrome (AS). Deaf Linx

Behavioral Disorders

Birth Defects

Blindness or Visual Impairment

Chemical Sensitivity

Cognitive Disabilities

Communication Disorders

Deafness or Hearing Impairment - Deafness refers to a hearing impairment or auditory processing so severe that it impairs processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child's educational performance or an adult's daily activities. Speech ability is dependent upon age of onset and degree of deafness. A hearing impairment refers to auditory loss, permanent or fluctuating, which adversely affects a child's educational performance or an adult's daily activities but is not included under the definition of "deafness." Some hearing loss may be only is certain tones or decibels. Hearing impairment may be referred to as "Hard-of-Hearing". Causes may include genetics, disease, illness, injury, chemicals, age or prolonged exposure to environmental noise. Resources: Northeast Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Services (NDHHS), NH Dept. of Education - Services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, About Deafness, Hearing Loss Association of America, Hard-of-Hearing Advocates, NH Interpreter Licensure Board, Rights of a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person to an Interpreter Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

Developmental Disabilities


Emotional Disorders

Learning Disabilities

Mental Illness

Multiple Disabilities

Orthopedic Impairments

Perceptual-Motor Disabilities

Physical Disabilities

Psychiatric Disabilities

Seizure Disorders

Social and Interpersonal Disorders

Speech/Language Disorders

Spinal Cord Injury

Temporary Physical Disabilities

For more information, check out these web sites:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's Health Encyclopedia
Disability Organizations Serving NH pdf file

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Governor's Commission on Disability  |  121 South Fruit Street, Suite 101, Concord, NH 03301
Toll-Free NH: 800-852-3405  |  603-271-2773  |   Fax: 603-271-2837  |

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