With about 7.6 billion world population, about 1.1 billion have some form of disability, and according to WHO (World Health Organization), about 2% to 4% have a significant problem functioning. Some of us may not know how it is like to live without something essential like the sense of sight, hearing, the act of walking, standing, holding hands, and more. However, what is it that disabled people have that most don’t? Does disability mean inability altogether? What is the difference between the two?
When we use the term “disability,” many people think about the obvious, including mobility impairments and common sensory disabilities, such as blindness. However, disabilities also include a number of other conditions that typically are invisible to others. — Alecia M. Santuzzi, Ph.D.
What Is Disability?
Disability means a condition where a person has limited senses or movements. It could be due to a physical condition such as losing eyesight or hearing, incapable of walking due to an injury or a medical condition. Stroke can paralyze one person. Depending on the severity, it can be one side of the body or all the extremities could be affected.
Loss Of Sight
Blindness is one of the most challenging conditions because it somewhat contradicts what people always say, “Go and see the world. It is the only way to live.” As per the National Health Interview Survey, approximately 25.5 million American adults are either having trouble seeing or completely blind. People who cannot see use the Braille method to read. It is a system of dots that signifies the letters of the alphabet.
Loss Of Hearing
Deafness or hearing loss is another challenging disability because it takes away the capability to hear the sound. Without the sense of hearing, how can one communicate? How can a person hear music? How can they watch movies? People with hearing problems use sign language to convey and understand messages. They use their hands to send a message or represent the alphabet. Also, movies nowadays use subtitles, so people who could not hear the dialogue and effects could relate to what they see.
It’s a two-edged sword: I like no one knowing of my deafness unless I tell them, yet they can’t make any allowances for my hearing loss unless I share my disability. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
Paralysis Or Injury Of The Hands/Arms Or Feet/Legs
As per the Reeve Foundation, about 5.4 million people are experiencing some form of paralysis. It can affect how they function as it could hinder the ability to use the hands or arms for holding, moving, writing and the ability to use the feet or legs for walking, running, playing sports and more. Some paralysis can even affect the whole body that it causes a person to stay in bed.
Mental Health Disabilities
Mental health illnesses affect a person’s ability to learn, speak, or comprehend the way most people do. It is the reason why they need “special” attention because they have a particular means of acquiring knowledge and skills, but it doesn’t make them any less. People with mental health illnesses require treatment given by a psychiatrist and psychologist. They also need to take prescribed medications to manage the symptoms of their condition.
What Is The Difference Between Disability And Inability?
Disability, as discussed above, is a limitation of a person’s ability to function brought about by illnesses or injuries. People who live with disabilities may live life differently. They have particular methods to read, communicate, or function. However, when you think about disability, it is somewhat superficial. Yes, it could affect the thinking, but people with it didn’t have a choice.
Inability is being able, but one chooses not to be. It is quite common nowadays. For instance, people pass by the street seeing a homeless man who has probably not eaten for days. He asks for help, maybe even begging for some money. What do most people do?
Cognitive psychological tests are performance-based and have people answer questions and solve problems as well as they possibly can. Non-cognitive psychological tests are measures of typical behavior such as personality, interests, values, and attitudes. — Rick Nauert PhD
A disability may prevent a person from helping because he couldn’t see or hear the man. One may be stuck in the house not being able to see the actual situation. Some with mental health problems may not be able to comprehend what the man needs. Disability can cause them not to help.
The inability, on the other hand… It’s what most people do.