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The Disability Portal

symbols for someone sitting in a wheelchair, a brain, sign language and someone walking with a (possibly white) stick

Disability, according to the World Health Organization, is defined as "...an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives."

Selected article

Children of a Lesser God is a 1986 romantic drama film that tells the story of a speech teacher at a school for deaf students who falls in love with a deaf woman who also works there. It stars William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie, and Philip Bosco.

The movie, directed by Randa Haines, was adapted by Mark Medoff, Hesper Anderson and James Carrington from Medoff's Tony award-winning play of the same name, which ran on Broadway from 1980–1982.

In her debut role as Sarah Norman, Matlin won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress. Aged 21 at the time, she is the youngest actress to have received an Oscar for Best Actress. Almost completely deaf in real life since the early age of 18 months, she has since gone on to become an established film and television star and remains active in charities for the deaf and hearing impaired around the world. The film also garnered Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for William Hurt, Best Supporting Actress for Piper Laurie, Best Picture, and Best Writing for an Adapted Screenplay.

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Selected biography

Vergeer playing a right hand forehand tennis stroke while seated in her wheelchair
Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer is a Dutch wheelchair tennis player. She is five-time Paralympics tennis champion, eleven-time consecutive world-champion (i.e. winner of the NEC Masters tournament), and has been the world's top ranked player since 1999. Unbeaten in singles matches since January 2003, she may be the most dominant player in any professional sport. Vergeer also played wheelchair basketball before she took up tennis fulltime.

Vergeer developed paraplegia when she was 8 years old due to otherwise successful, very risky surgery on hemorrhaging blood vessels around her spinal cord. During rehabilitation she learned to play volleyball, basketball, and tennis in a wheelchair. After playing basketball for several years at club level, she was invited to join the national wheelchair basketball team. She played with the Dutch team that won the European championship in 1997.


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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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