General Disbilities Introduction  Disabilities are a fact of our world and culture. Some disabilities have been with us from the beginnings of recorded medical data. However the way we discover these disabilities at a young age, the methods we use to treat them, and the cultures viewpoint regarding persons with disabilities has changed profoundly over the centuries. In addition, the introduction of various chemicals, medicines, and nutritional variances appears to have played a role in the development of certain disabilities. What follows is a general overview of the nine categories of disabilities facing mankind as of now. It is not intended to be complete, but merely an introduction to that section of our population due our respect, our complete support, and a chance to live as much of a normal life as possible. Autism  Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder impacting the individual’s ability to interact with others and communication skills in general. Information is not processed in the brain due to abnormalities in nerve and synaptic junctions. Autism is determined to be based on genetic information and is most often characterized as a mutation of DNA information. In some cases, autism has been linked to heavy metals, pesticides, and some childhood vaccines. Conclusive evidence for this by the medical and scientific community has not been offered, however environmental agents appear to be playing a role in the onset of certain forms of autism. More Information Chronic Illness  A chronic illness is defined as a disease lasting longer than three months. This category of illness can often only be managed by the medical community and not completely cured. Hope remains for continued research in these kinds of diseases and a cure to be found. Individuals facing these diseases usually have every facet of their lives impacted by these illnesses. The most often seen chronic illnesses are Addison’s disease, Aids, Anemia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Asthma, Cancer, Celiac disease, Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunctions, Coronary disease, Crohn’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Grave’s disease, Guillain Barre Syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, Headache, Lupus, Lyme disease, Meniere disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, Tay-Sachs and Allied diseases, Ulcerative colitis. Hearing Loss and Deafness  360 million people around the world are experiencing either a hearing loss or complete deafness. Most of these people live in low and middle income countries. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound and may affect one or both ears. Deafness is the most profound form of hearing loss and individuals effected by this are often educated in skills related to sign language, braille, and other nonverbal forms of communication. More Information  Intellectual Disability  Intellectual disabilities are characterized by limitations in cognitive functioning and an inability to adapt successfully to one’s environment. Higher order cognitions, including executive functioning are severely limited in the minds of people with this disability. The capacity for learning, problem solving, and rational reasoning are imperfect. A person with an intellectual disability experiences difficulty in formalizing concepts related to social, conceptional, and practical skills. For instance, they might demonstrate difficulty and confusion in using language, conceiving of time, using money and the general concepts of math. They typically do not possess meaningful interpersonal abilities, self-esteem, and may be easily persuaded. Often, they do not possess adequate skills in personal hygiene, job skills, or an ability to navigate through public transportation, keep a schedule, or use many modern conveniences. More Information   Learning Disability  Theories related and surrounding learning disabilities are based on a medical model of reasoning and research. The general notion is that a cognitive impairment is related to some genetic, biological, or medical phenomena. The deficit in thinking is seen as being biologically based. The social model of disability posits that learning disabilities have as their basis those factors from the general culture, social structure, or demographic origin. It is important to note the social model has been formed based on the 21st century concept of productivity and generativity in all things. Western culture places a great deal of importance on speed, innervation, creativity, and intellectual development. In short, the inability to learn does not fit into an accepted social norm of being a productive citizen. Therefore, very often people with this disability are marginalized and discriminated against. The western cultures obsession with individual achievement and total self-reliance has created a great chasm of differences between what is normal and abnormal. More Information Memory Loss  Typically, we think of memory loss and the aged. However, memory loss may also impact other demographics in our world. Anyone may suddenly experience memory loss as a result of trauma or emergency. Mild memory loss may also come with age as telomeres are reduced and synaptic junctions become slower. Memory loss may be expressed as symptomatic of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The onset of these diseases may impact the individual’s ability to remember recent events, past history or both. It may start with the phrase, “it was right on the tip of my tongue,” or you may end up in a hospital emergency room not knowing how you got there and where you live. More Information Mental Illness  Mental illness or disorder is a cognitive or behavioral pattern of maladaptive traits that causes psychological or emotional suffering. It is characterized by an inability to function normally in a typical day. The degree to which the maladaptive behaviors impact daily functioning is known in mental health as a global assessment of functioning. The score given by the mental health practitioner in this area along with a five axis diagnosis is a measurement of the disorders intrusion into the person’s daily existence. Mental illness often carries with it a stigma and marginalization of individuals with a mental illness is far too common in the world. Great strides have been made in decreasing this sense of marginalization, but a great deal needs to be done.   Physical Disability  Limitations and restrictions of physical functioning and mobility are known as physical disabilities. These disabilities impact daily functioning and may be expressed through an amputation, arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple-sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal injury, polio or spina bifida. There are approximately 72 million people in the world with a physical disability and they are increasing each year. Speech and Language Disorders  Problems related to the formation and articulation of sounds through the mouth and correctly understanding speech patterns are known as speech disorders. Stuttering is the most often disorder thought of in relationship to these kinds of disorders. A language disorder is viewed as an impairment in understanding related to sharing thoughts and ideas. The human mind sometimes thinks in terms of images and intuitive understandings. These are then translated into words that express our intent. A person with a language disorder does not have the skill to do this or understand grammar, syntax, semantics and general use of language.