Disability, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is …an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Disability is the interaction between individuals with a health condition (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression) and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports).
Within the UK, under the Equality Act 2010 a person is disabled if they …have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.
There are two main models used when discussing disability; the individual model and the social model. There is ongoing debate as to which of these models should be used when defining disability for official purposes.
For more information please read my research project, Accessible London?