1800 800 340

Disability Glossary

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)
Begin with Contains Exact termSounds like
Term Definition
Deaf and Hearing Impairment

People with a hearing loss can be considered as two groups: ‘Deaf’ with a capital ‘D’ refers to people who and have been without hearing, who use Auslan and who identify with the Deaf community and culture. 'Deaf’', ‘hearing impaired’, or ‘hard of hearing’ people are those who, (after acquiring speech),experience various degrees of hearing loss from the effects of ageing, industrial accidents or exposure to excessive noise. They do not necessarily see themselves as part of a separate culture or community.

Disability - General Term

There are many definitions of disability used in Australia and throughout the world. The definition below comes from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Under the Act, in relation to a person, disability is defined as: - total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions; or - total or partial loss of a part of the body; or - the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or - the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or - the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body; or - disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or - a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour; and includes a disability that: presently exists; or previously existed but no longer exists; or may exist in the future; or is imputed to a person. The word 'disability' is often misunderstood and stigmatised, which is also often based on lack of understanding and knowledge. It is important to note that disability does not just refer to extremes, such as loss of both legs, but is a continuum. In fact, many of us have or will have some disability in our life - be that impaired hearing, joint damage or back problems, reading glasses, a stroke or having some physical or mental limitations.

Down syndrome

Down syndrome, or Down's syndrome (primarily in the United Kingdom), trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. The condition was identified as a chromosome 21 trisomy by Jérôme Lejeune in 1959. Down syndrome in a fetus can be identified with amniocentesis during pregnancy, or in a baby at birth.

Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition characterized by the presence of an extra copy of genetic material on the 21st chromosome, either in whole (trisomy 21) or part (such as due to translocations). The effects and extent of the extra copy vary greatly among people, depending on genetic history, and pure chance. The incidence of Down syndrome is estimated at 1 per 733 births, although it is statistically more common with older parents (both mothers and fathers) due to increased mutagenic exposures upon some older parents' reproductive cells. Other factors may also play a role. Down syndrome occurs in all human populations, and analogous effects have been found in other species such as chimpanzees and mice.

Often Down syndrome is associated with some impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics. Individuals with Down syndrome tend to have a lower-than-average cognitive ability, often ranging from mild to moderate disabilities. Many children with Down Syndrome who have received family support, enrichment therapies, and tutoring have been known to graduate from high school and college, and enjoy employment in the work force. The average IQ of children with Down syndrome is around 50, compared to normal children with an IQ of 100. A small number have a severe to high degree of intellectual disability.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy, which results in muscle degeneration, difficulty walking, breathing, and death. The incidence is 1 in 3,000.[1] Females and males are affected, though females are rarely affected and are more often carriers. The disorder is caused by a mutation in the dystrophin gene, located in humans on the X chromosome (Xp21). The dystrophin gene codes for the protein dystrophin, an important structural component within muscle tissue. Dystrophin provides structural stability to the dystroglycan complex (DGC), located on the cell membrane.

Symptoms usually appear in male children before age 5 and may be visible in early infancy. Progressive proximal muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis associated with a loss of muscle mass is observed first. Eventually this weakness spreads to the arms, neck, and other areas. Early signs may include pseudohypertrophy (enlargement of calf and deltoid muscles), low endurance, and difficulties in standing unaided or inability to ascend staircases. As the condition progresses, muscle tissue experiences wasting and is eventually replaced by fat and fibrotic tissue (fibrosis). By age 10, braces may be required to aid in walking but most patients are wheelchair dependent by age 12. Later symptoms may include abnormal bone development that lead to skeletal deformities, including curvature of the spine. Due to progressive deterioration of muscle, loss of movement occurs, eventually leading to paralysis. Intellectual impairment may or may not be present but if present, does not progressively worsen as the child ages. The average life expectancy for patients afflicted with DMD varies from late teens to early to mid 20s. There have been reports of a few DMD patients surviving to the age of 40, but this is extremely rare.