Disability as a Spectrum

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DavidDArcangelo
DavidDArcangelo Member (Full) Posts: 13

The universe of individuals with disabilities is large, diverse and no two people experience our human condition in the same way.


This can make the task of crafting public policies challenging. Let's consider one of the largest "measures" of disability data, which is contained within the U.S. Census bureau's American Community Survey (ACS.)


The ACS indicates that ~13.5% of Americans are people with disabilities, which is ~43M individuals. The ACS further categorizes six "prevalence types" of people with disabilities, which are:

Hearing Disability

Vision Disability

Cognitive Disability

Ambulatory Disability

Self-Care Disability

Independent Living Disability

Each of these types encounters disability in a different way and within each type is a wide array conditions that "substantially limit one or more of major life activities."

Indeed, disability, and/or the state of being "disabled" is a truly unique and individualized experience of our human condition. As the data indicates, disability is not monolithic and is more akin to a spectrum of lived experiences that are encountered differently by each person with a disability.

How do you feel about this?