Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others – UNCRPD

As per the The International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health  (ICF)

1.  Disability: is functioning  in multiple life areas  (Simply seeing, walking, taking a bath, working, going to school, accessing social services and many such domains are included in the definition)

2. Disability is seen as a result of an interaction between a person (with a health condition) and that person’s contextual factors (environmental factors and personal factors) (Simply,  disability is not seen as an individual’s intrinsic feature but a result of interaction in an environment.  The interaction of the same person with the health condition may yield different functioning level in different environments.)

 3. Disability covers a spectrum of various levels of functioning at body level, person level and societal level.  Disability denotes all of the following:  

(a) impairments in body functions and structures

(b) limitations in activity

(c) restriction in participation

Simply,  Disability = A + B + C

Disability covers all impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. This comprehensive approach is useful for prevention, rehabilitation, social policies and other interventions..

Did you know that many disabilities can be prevented? With the help of recent advances in medicine and technology, a few disabilities can now be prevented or alleviated. A little awareness of, and the appropriate application of such advances, can help enable a person to realize his or her full potential.

Disabilities that can be prevented or alleviated

  • Birth defects
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Hearing impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • Genetic disorders
  • Disabilities due to nutritional deficiencies

Alarming levels of prevalence

  • More than 4,000 types of birth defects are known.
  • Around 3%- 4% of newborn children have major birth defects.
  • Around 1 in 88 children have symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Heightened risk of Down’s Syndrome as maternal age rises from
    (1 in 1,700 at 20 years to 1 in 30 at 45 years).
  • About 10% of school children display signs of learning disability of some kind.

Why prevention?

  • Research studies have shown that a significant proportion of disabilities can be prevented, if detected early.
  • Research also indicates that the socio-economic costs of  prevention of disabilities are much lower than costs of rehabilitation.
  • Recent changes based on the ICF philosophy, state that Functionality can be enhanced with very Early Intervention