The contemporary conception of disability proposed in the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) views disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Disability is the interaction between individuals with a health condition (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or depression) and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation, or limited social supports).
Long ago there was great confusion over the meaning of terms such as impairment, handicap, or disability. Then, in 1980, the WHO provided great service by offering a clear way of thinking about it all in a little book …show more content…
The words “impairment,” “disability,” and “handicap,” are often used interchangeably. They have very different meanings, however. The differences in meaning are important for understanding the effects of neurological injury on development.
The most commonly cited definitions are those provided by the World Health Organization (1980) in The International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps:
Impairment: any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.
Disability: any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
Handicap: a disadvantage for a given individual that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal
As traditionally used, impairment refers to a problem with a structure or organ of the body; disability is a functional limitation with regard to a particular activity; and handicap refers to a disadvantage in filling a role in life relative to a peer group.
Examples to illustrate the differences among the terms "impairment," "disability," and "handicap."
1. CP example: David is a 4-yr.-old who has a form of cerebral palsy (CP) called spastic diplegia. David's CP causes his legs to be stiff, tight, and difficult to move. He cannot stand or walk.
Impairment: The inability to move the legs easily at the joints and inability to bear