Types of Disabilities

Many types of disabilities exist, such as physical, sensory, cognitive, psychiatric, and health related. Students with disabilities have many different characteristics. In fact, many persons with disabilities look just like everyone else. Their disabilities may be invisible or apparent.

The ADA defines disability as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as caring for oneself; performing manual tasks; walking, seeing; hearing; speaking; breathing; learning, or working.

Deciding whether a student meets the definition of disability under the ADA is handled on a case-by-case basis. Keep in mind that persons are not entitled to protection under the ADA simply because they have been diagnosed with a disability. The disability must substantially limit their ability to perform major life activities.

To help you understand the many disabilities covered by the ADA, please see the different types of disabilities below.