Did you know 15% of us have a disability?

This month is Disability Pride Month. Every day we hear from people who are disabled, and we wanted to help raise awareness of some of the different types of disability.

A disability is defined as the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.

There are many different types of disabilities such as intellectual, physical, sensory and mental illness. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during your lifetime.

Not all disabilities are black and white. Two people with the same type of disability may not have the same experiences. Everyone is unique and everyone copes with their disability differently.

Over 1 billion people – about 15% of the global population – currently experience disability, and this number is increasing.

Here are the facts:

  • Over 1 billion people live with a disability
  • The number of people with disability are dramatically increasing. This is caused by a variety of reasons but the increase in chronic health conditions is a key reason 
  • Almost all of us are likely to experience some form of disability – temporary or permanent – at some point in your life.

There are so many different types of disability:

Intellectual Disabilities: An intellectual disability is characterised by an IQ below 70 (the average IQ is 100), as well as significant difficulty with daily living such as self care, safety, communication and socialisation. People with an intellectual disability may process information more slowly, find communication and daily living skills hard, and also have difficulty with abstract concepts such as money and time.

Examples include

  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Prader – Willi Syndrome
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Physical Disabilities: Physical disabilities may affect your physical capacity and/or mobility. There are many different causes of physical disabilities, but they can include inherited or genetic disorders, serious illnesses, and injury.

Examples include

  • Acquiredbrain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Epilepsy

Mental Illness: Mental illness is a general term that refers to a group of illnesses that significantly affects how you feel, think, behave, and interact with other people.

Mental illnesses can be very difficult and debilitating to those experiencing them, as well as their families and friends. They can also be permanent or temporary.

Examples include

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa

Sensory disabilities: A sensory disability is a disability of the senses (e.g. sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste). As 95% of the information about the world around us comes from our sight and hearing, a sensory disability can affect how you gather information from the world around them.

Examples include

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Blindness and low vision
  • Hearing loss and deafness
  • Sensory processing disorder

Tell us your experience of disability.

Do you get the support that you need? How could health and social care services be improved for you?


Do you or someone you know suffer with a disability? Would you like to share your personal experiences of your disabilities? We value all feedback, and you can share your experiences with us here

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas.

Talk to us