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Published: November 19, 2019
Understanding Physical Disabilities

Teenage girl hugging girl in a wheelchair

Teenage girl hugging girl in a wheelchairA physical disability is one that either permanently or temporarily restricts movement in the upper or lower limbs, or limits physical functioning, dexterity, coordination, or stamina. Like most disabilities, anyone can acquire a physical disability at any point in their lifetime.

The types and extent of physical disabilities vary from person to person. Not everyone with a physical disability is paralyzed or uses a wheelchair. Some individuals may need to use a cane, walker, or wheelchair, or a combination of these. Others have less “visible” physical disabilities such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Chronic dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

The causes can range from congenital or genetic conditions to diseases to physical trauma to age. Regardless of the cause, people with physical disabilities often face barriers that impede or prohibit access to housing, medical care, transportation, public buildings, and public events – all of which are necessary for living a full, independent life.

At The Independence Center, we offer a variety of resources – such as skills classes, peer support, and information about assistive technology, employment, disability benefits, and advocacy – to help those with physical disabilities live more independently.


Please visit our Center for Independent Living page or call The Independence Center at 719-476-8181 to get started.

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