What is a disability?

The word “disabled” usually refers to a person who has a physical or mental handicap that keeps him or her from doing certain tasks or makes performing them unusually difficult. Most physical disabilities, like blindness or paralysis, are easily noticed, but many mental disabilities are harder to detect. Mental disabilities can include diseases like schizophrenia, which causes severe disturbances in people’s thoughts and emotions. Another type of disability is a learning disability, such as dyslexia, which is a learning disorder that makes reading very difficult because the brain reverses the order of letters and words. Many disabled people prefer the term “differently abled,” a description that doesn’t divide people into categories like “normal” and “disabled” but addresses the idea that every person has different abilities.