Portal:Disability

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Introduction

According to many definitions, a disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. Other definitions describe disability as the societal disadvantage arising from such impairments. Disability substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime.

Disability is a contested concept, with different meanings in different communities. It may be used to refer to physical or mental attributes that some institutions, particularly medicine, view as needing to be fixed (the medical model). It may refer to limitations imposed on people by the constraints of an ableist society (the social model). Or the term may serve to refer to the identity of disabled people. Physiological functional capacity (PFC) is a related term that describes an individual's performance level. It gauges one's ability to perform the physical tasks of daily life and the ease with which these tasks are performed. PFC declines with advancing age to result in frailty, cognitive disorders or physical disorders, all of which may lead to labeling individuals as disabled.

The discussion over disability's definition arose out of disability activism in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1970s, which challenged how the medical concept of disability dominated perception and discourse about disabilities. Debates about proper terminology and their implied politics continue in disability communities and the academic field of disability studies. In some countries, the law requires that disabilities are documented by a healthcare provider in order to assess qualifications for disability benefits.

Selected article

Boy with Down syndrome assembling a bookcase
Down syndrome (DS or DNS), also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual disability, and characteristic facial features. The average IQ of a young adult with Down syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental ability of an 8- or 9-year-old child, but this can vary widely.


The parents of the affected individual are typically genetically normal. The probability increases from less than 0.1% in 20-year-old mothers to 3% in those of age 45. The extra chromosome is believed to occur by chance, with no known behavioral activity or environmental factor that changes the probability. Down syndrome can be identified during pregnancy by prenatal screening followed by diagnostic testing or after birth by direct observation and genetic testing. Since the introduction of screening, pregnancies with the diagnosis are often terminated. Regular screening for health problems common in Down syndrome is recommended throughout the person's life.


There is no cure for Down syndrome. Education and proper care have been shown to improve quality of life. Some children with Down syndrome are educated in typical school classes, while others require more specialized education. Some individuals with Down syndrome graduate from high school, and a few attend post-secondary education. In adulthood, about 20% in the United States do paid work in some capacity, with many requiring a sheltered work environment. Support in financial and legal matters is often needed. Life expectancy is around 50 to 60 years in the developed world with proper health care.


Selected image

 WWI amputees at Walter Reed Hospital
American soldiers who lost limbs during a World War I battle. They were recovering at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. 1918. Photo credit: Harris & Ewing.

Selected biography

Schäuble sits in his wheelchair at a table facing his wife, dressed casually during what was a ten-hour performance of Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy
Wolfgang Schäuble with his wife at the performance of Wallenstein in Berlin, 2007

Wolfgang Schäuble (born September 18, 1942) is a German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician.

From 1984 to 1991 he was a member of Helmut Kohl's cabinet. He survived an assassination attempt in 1990 as a result of which he was paralysed and must use a wheelchair, but he remains active. Between 1991 and 2000, he was chairman of the CDU/CSU group in the parliament, and from 1998 to 2000 also CDU party chairman. He served again as Federal Minister of the Interior from 2005 to 2009 and is currently the Federal Minister of Finance.

WikiProjects

The Disability WikiProject is a project that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Disability related articles. The aim of this project is to co-ordinate the improvement and creation of articles.

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