Disability is a measurable impairment or limitation that "interferes with a person's abililty, for example to walk, lift hear or learn. It may refer to a physical, sensory or total condition(Schiefelbusch Institute, 1996).
Handicap is a disadvantage that occurs as a result of disability or impairment.
Categories of Exceptionalities
Specific cognitive or academic difficulties:
- Learning Disabilities. Involve difficulties in specific cognitive processes like perception, language, memory or metacognition that are not due to other disabilities like retardation, emotional or behavioral disorders or sensory impairments.
- Attention - Deficit Hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is manifested in either or both of these: a) diffculty in focusing and maintaining attention and b) recureent hyperactive and impulsive behavior.
- Speech and communication Disorders. There is difficulty in spoken language including voice disorders =, inabiltiy to poroduce the sound correctly, stuttering, difficulty in spoken language comprehension that significantly hamper classroom performance.
- Emotional/Conduct Disorders. Involves the presence of emotional states like depression and aggression over a considerable amount of time that they notably disturb learning and performance in school.
- Autism. A condition manifested by different levels of impaired social interaction and communication, repetitive behaviors and limited interests.
- Mental Retardation. Refers to significant sub average intelligence and deficits in adaptive behavior.
Physical and health impairments. This involves physical or medical conditions (usually long-term) including one or more of these: 1) limited energy and strength, 2) reduced mental alertness, and/or 3) little muscle control.
Severe and Multiple Disabilities. This refers to the presence of two or more different types of disability, at times at a profound level.
Visual Impairments. These are conditions when there is malfunction of the eyes or optoc nerves that prevent normal vision even with corrective lenses.
Hearing Impairments. Thses involves malfunction of the ear or auditory nerves that hinder perception of sounds within the frequency range of normal speech.
Giftedness. This involves a significantly high level of cognitive development. There is usually high ability or aptitude in one or more of these aspects: intellectual abiltiy, aptitude in academic subjects, creativity, visual or performing arts or leadership.