[ Browse by Service Category : Topics Related to People With Disabilities (45) ]

Communication Impairments

Language, articulation, voice and/or fluency disorders which are outside the range of acceptable variation in a given environment and which are inconsistent with the person's chronological and/or developmental age.

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Developmental Disabilities

A severe, chronic disability that is attributable to a cognitive, neurological or physical impairment or a combination of cognitive, neurological and physical impairments; that is manifested during the developmental period (prior to age 22); that is likely to continue indefinitely; and that results in substantial functional limitations in three or more areas of major life activity including self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.

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Hearing Loss

A disruption in the normal hearing process that may occur in the outer, middle, or inner ear, which prevents sound waves from being converted to electrical signals and nerve impulses from being transmitted to the brain to be interpreted. Included are conductive hearing loss that results from abnormalities of the external ear and/or the ossicles of the middle ear; sensorineural hearing loss that results from malfunction of inner ear structures (i.e., cochlea); and central auditory dysfunction that results from damage or dysfunction at the level of the eighth cranial nerve, auditory brain stem, or cerebral cortex. Hearing loss may be present at birth (congenital) or become evident later in life (acquired); and may or may not preclude the normal development of language. The severity of hearing loss is measured in decibles (dB). The threshold or 0 dB mark for each frequency refers to the level at which typical young adults perceive a tone burst 50% of the time. Hearing is considered normal if an individual's thresholds are within 15 dB of normal thresholds. Severity of hearing loss is graded as mild (26-40 dB), moderate (41-55 dB), moderately severe (56-70 dB), severe (71-90 dB) and profound (90 dB).

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Learning Disabilities

A neurological disorder that affects one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. The disability may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. Learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps; of intellectual disabilities; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages.

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Mental Illness/Emotional Disabilities

An alteration in thinking, mood or behaviour or some combination of those that either creates distress or interferes with people's relationships or their ability function.

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Multiple Disabilities

A combination of two or more significant cognitive, physical and/or sensory disabilities.

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Physical Disabilities

Any of a variety of conditions that may be due to muscular, skeletal or neuromuscular disorders, paralysis or absence of one or more limbs, which impose physical limitations on the individual.

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Visual Impairments

Eye, optic nerve or brain malfunctions which prevent affected individuals from seeing normally. Eye disorders that can lead to visual impairments include retinal degeneration, albinism, cataracts, glaucoma, muscular problems that result in visual disturbances, corneal disorders, diabetic retinopathy, congenital disorders and infection.

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Families/Friends of People with Disabilities

The parents, children, spouses, partners, friends or other relatives or significant others of people who have physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive, mental or emotional limitations, whose own patterns of personal, social and familial coping have been significantly affected by ongoing interaction with and concern about the individual with a disability.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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