An Overview of the Types of Disabilities and Caregiving Tips

An Overview of the Types of Disabilities and Caregiving Tips

Some of us are more equally abled than others and some specially abled. This state of being differently or specially abled can result due to many environmental, physical or psychological conditions.

Disabilities are classified based on four dimensions.

  • Structure and function of the body or impairment.
  • Activity restrictions
  • Participation restrictions
  • Influence of environmental factors

Under these dimensions, disabilities come in a variety of forms, including those that affect a person’s:

  • Vision.
  • Hearing
  • Mental health problems.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Physical disability.
  • Acquired brain injury.
  • Autism spectrum disorder.


Malnutrition and poverty

One of the leading causes of disability is poverty. Poor people are more vulnerable to disability because they are forced to live and work in dangerous environments with poor sanitation, overcrowded living conditions, and little access to education, clean water, or adequate food. This makes illnesses like tuberculosis and polio much more prevalent, causing disability.


More civilians than soldiers are killed or injured in wars today, and most of them are women and children. Explosions may negatively impact a person’s mental health in addition to any other injuries they may sustain, such as limb loss, blindness, or deafness.

Nuclear Radiations

Radiation exposure caused by nuclear bombings exposed people to a large number of illnesses and disabilities.

Most of those who survived these collisions and explosions had to fight cancers like leukemia (blood cancer) or tumors in various body parts.

In the regions where these nuclear incidents took place, there has also been an upsurge in the number of children born with learning disabilities, such as Down syndrome.

Hazardous Work Environments

People who work in factories, mines, or on agricultural plantations may be exposed to hazardous machinery, tools, or chemicals. Accidents and excessive chemical exposure are common causes of disabilities.

Birth Defects due to Exposure to Pesticides and Poisons

Poisons like lead in paint, pesticides like rat poison, and other chemicals can leave people with disabilities and give unborn children birth defects.

Inherited Disabilities

It is well known that some disabilities, like muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy, are inherited. If a woman already has one or more children who have an inherited disability, she is more likely to have another child who has the same problem. When close blood relatives (such as siblings, first cousins, or parents and offspring) have children together, other disabilities may also arise.

Disabilities Caused by Pregnancy

Some illnesses that a pregnant woman may contract can affect the physical or intellectual development of her unborn child. German measles (rubella), which is a frequent cause of deafness in newborn babies, is one of the illnesses that can result in birth defects.

Additionally, syphilis, herpes, and HIV can be transferred from a mother to her unborn child and result in birth defects. So, in order to safeguard the unborn child growing inside the mother, women must be tested for and treated for sexually transmitted infections.

Meningitis, polio, and measles are among a few illnesses that can leave a baby or young child disabled.

Alcohol consumption, chewing tobacco, breathing smoke, and smoking while pregnant can all negatively impact the unborn child.

Inadequate Access to Healthcare

Many disabilities can be avoided with good health care. A baby may be born with a disability like cerebral palsy due to challenging labor and delivery. Babies can avoid being born with many disabilities if the birth attendants are skilled in risk assessment and emergency management. Vaccinations also help to prevent several disabilities. However, vaccines are frequently unavailable, out of reach for those living in rural areas or poverty, or simply not affordable for everyone.

Injections and Medications

The baby may develop disabilities if certain medications or drugs are taken while pregnant. Oxytocin and other injectable drugs are overused to hasten labor and “give force” to the mother’s contractions, depriving the newborn of oxygen during birth, which is a major cause of brain damage.

Home-related Accidents

In addition to workplace accidents, many people also experience disabling injuries at home from burns caused by cooking fires, falls, automobile accidents, and inhaling or ingesting toxic chemicals.

Tips on How to Treat Patients with Disabilities

Taking care of patients with physical, mental, or even sensory impairments comes with its own difficulties. Since severely disabled patients face many challenges on a daily basis, addressing even one problem can mean the world to the patient and their family caregivers. Here are some pointers for caring for patients with disabilities:

  • Speak to the patient directly, not through any possible companions.
  • Be careful not to assume the patient needs a certain kind of help. Wait for your offer to be accepted before extending assistance, and then wait for directions.
  • Inquire how you can assist them and respect their responses.
  • Assume that patients with disabilities are capable of managing their own medical care.
  • Give yourself enough time for a thorough examination and take a history.
  • Use clear language when communicating to reduce misunderstandings and boost receptivity.
  • Use open-ended inquiries like “How are you doing?” and “What can I do to help you.”
  • If you are unsure, do not hesitate to ask the patient.
  • Give them your full attention, do not judge.

As patients with physical or mental impairments have a range of preferences and triggers, just like non-disabled patients do, these tips can assist you in avoiding some of the more obvious pitfalls when caring for patients with disabilities and help you gain your patient’s trust.

Apollo HomeCare:

While coping with each individual disability presents its own set of difficulties, Apollo HomeCare is here to help you face the challenges by providing nursing assistance for physically disabled people as well as speech therapy for persons with communication disorders, feeding disorders, stuttering, autism, etc., by professionally trained and licensed speech therapists in the comfort of your home.

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