What is disability?
The definition of 'disability' under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) is broad. It includes physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological and learning disabilities. Disability can be permanent or temporary. It includes some conditions not usually thought of as disabilities.
- total or partial loss of physical or mental functions (e.g. a person who has quadriplegia, a broken leg, epilepsy, a brain injury or a vision or hearing impairment)
- total or partial loss of part of the body (e.g. a person who has had an amputation or a woman who has had a hysterectomy)
- infectious and non-infectious diseases and illnesses (e.g. a person with AIDS, hepatitis or a person with allergies)
- the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a person's body (e.g. a person with diabetes or asthma, or a person with a birthmark or scar)
- a condition causing a person to learn differently from other people (e.g. a person with autism, dyslexia, or an intellectual disability)
- a condition that affects a person's thought processes, understanding of reality, emotions or judgment, or that results in disturbed behaviour (e.g. a person with a mental illness, neurosis, or personality disorder)
- a condition that exists now, existed in the past, or may exist in the future (including having a genetic predisposition to that disability)
- a condition that is attributed to a person (e.g. a presumption that a gay man is also HIV positive)
- behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of a disability (e.g. bodily movements caused by Parkinson's disease or behaviours of concern related to mental ill-health).
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