What is a Disability?

Posted by  //  June 27, 2015  //  Articles

The Social Security Administration defines disability for adults as “not be[ing] able to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s)” (p. 5, Redbook, Social Security Administration). However, the staff at Cortland Works Career Center works diligently to assist anyone that identifies themselves as having a disability whether or not they receive disability benefits.

Some words within our language become over used and often misused. When approaching the terms disabled or disability it is important to check our own preconceived notions about them. What or who do we think of as be disabled or with a disability? Disabilities come in many shapes and sizes. You may live a normal uninhibited life for many years before a disability creeps in and suddenly appears in your own life!

Learning disabilities, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and many mental illnesses are often considered invisible disabilities as they are not easily detected by the average on-looker. These invisible disabilities are nonetheless just as debilitating as the more obvious ones. We must look beyond a person’s barriers and challenges. Many people who have been diagnosed with disabilities also have significant areas of strengths. More importantly, we are all subject to the human condition of feelings of self-worth and acceptance of mankind.

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