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A disability occurs when something affects a person's performance of some or all of the tasks of daily life functions.

How do people get a disability?

* People can be born disabled and this is called a developmental birth defect.
* People can develop a disability from genetic diseases that run in families.
* People can become disabled instantly if they get injured in an accident.
* People can become disabled slowly over a lifetime from aging or an illness.

Every disability is different with each person because every human being is an individual. Even disabilities with the same name can affect each person differently. Many disabilities cannot be seen just by looking at a person. Some disabilities have no physical, outer symptoms but can affect the brain or insides of the body.

What do people with various types of disabilities have in common?

* They may feel challenged in everyday life tasks.
* They may find that a task may take them a longer time to complete than someone without a disability.
* They may experience some type of pain.
* They are likely to develop amazing strength and courage along life's journey and be an inspiration for others.
* They may need extra personal and medical attention.

Disabilities often make people not able to do things like everyone else and may stop a person from participating in a particular activity. Special equipment may be needed to help people with a disability move around or to take part in everyday life activities.

Can you always tell if a person is disabled?

No! People with disabilities can do most things as well as or even better than people who have no disabilities! Most people with disabilities have normal, happy and long lives. Remember, each of us is entitled to personal privacy. A person with a disability does not have to tell anyone if they don't want to. There is nothing that a person with a disability is ashamed of, it is just that their disability is their business and not yours. You cannot always tell just by looking at people if they are disabled. If there is a reason to tell you, they will.
How should I treat a person who has a disability?

If you can see that someone has a disability, go ahead and look them in the eyes and say 'hello" or nod your head with a smile. Treat them as you would any other person! They are no different than you!. Many people with disabilities do not think of themselves as 'disabled'. They are normal people, just like you. If you want to offer help to a person with a disability, ask first if they would like your help. And, as we are sure you already know, it is never okay to make fun of anyone with any kind of disability.

For more information on disabilities, click the topics on the sidebar.

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