The Definition Of Disability
Disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." An individual may also qualify as disabled if he/she has had an impairment in the past or is seen as disabled based on a personal or group standard or norm. Such impairments may include physical, sensory, and cognitive or intellectual impairments. Mental disorders (also known as psychiatric or psychosocial disability) and various types of chronic disease may also be considered qualifying disabilities. A disability may occur during a person's lifetime or may be present from birth.
Disability rights movement
The disability rights movement, led by individuals with disabilities, began in the 1970s. This self-advocacy is often seen as largely responsible for the shift toward independent living and accessibility. The term "Independent Living" was taken from 1959 California legislation which enabled people who had acquired a disability due to polio to leave hospital wards and move back into the community with the help of cash benefits for the purchase of personal assistance with the activities of daily living.
With its origins in the U.S. civil rights and consumer movements of the late 1960s, the movement and its philosophy have since spread to other continents influencing self-perception, organization and social policy.
Current issues and debates surrounding disability include social and political rights, social inclusion and citizenship. In developed countries, the debate has moved beyond a concern about the perceived cost of maintaining dependent people with disabilities to an effort of finding effective ways to ensure that people with disabilities can participate in and contribute to society in all spheres of life.