We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Some Common Physical Disabilities?

By Phil Shepley
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are several types of common physical disabilities. Sometimes these disabilities are due to a disorder that a person was born with. Other times, a person can be disabled due to an injury.

Visual impairments: It is estimated by the American Foundation for the Blind that 10 million people in the United Stated are visually impaired. Visual impairment in an individual can range from near-sightedness to complete blindness. As with most physical disabilities, this can be present in an individual from birth or caused by an injury to the eyes or brain. Another cause of visual impairment is simply old age.

Hearing impairments: The most common type of hearing impairment is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which refers to damage to hearing caused by loud noises. Hearing loss can also be caused by head trauma, ear infections, pregnancy complications and genetic disorders. In many cases, the ability to hear can be partially helped through the use of a hearing aid.

Impairments caused by injuries of the skeletal system along with muscles, joints and ligaments: These common physical disabilities include amputations and disabilities due to spinal cord injuries (SCI). An amputee is a person who has lost all or a portion of an arm or a leg due to an amputation. Some of the most traumatic of injuries are spinal cord injuries, which often leave the injured person paralyzed. A more serious SCI can leave the injured person partially or completely paralyzed.

Birth and hereditary defects or disorders resulting in physical impairment: Many disabilities begin at or before birth. One of these is cerebral palsy, a disorder caused by a defect in the brain and resulting in impairments of movement and posture. Another is spina bifida, which results in an incompletely formed spinal cord. Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disorder that causes multiple bodily systems to fail as life progresses. There are many more birth and hereditary defects, and they are treatable to varying degrees and undergoing constant research.

In more severe cases, the disabled person completely loses the ability to use part of his or her body. A paraplegic is unable to use his or her lower limbs while a quadriplegic is paralyzed completely below the neck. In the most severe cases, the disabled person is required to be permanently immobilized in order to survive.

People with physical disabilities sometimes require special means to get from one place to another or to do everyday activities. A paraplegic, for example, sometimes needs a wheelchair, or an amputee can use a prosthetic limb. A blind person may use a cane to help him “see,” while a deaf person may use sign language in order to communicate. Animals can also be trained to aid the disabled, and in many cases, vehicles can be modified to accommodate them as well. Many laws exist to aid disabled people in society, and in the US, the most recognizable of these laws is the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). It covers a broad range of civil rights that protect the disabled from discrimination.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By gracimus — On Jan 05, 2009

I work with a child with Dyspraxia and I was wondering if Dyspraxia is classified as a physical disability or not??? Thank You

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.