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Option #2- Graded Discussion 4

In 1980 the World Health Organization (WHO) defined impairment, disability and handicap.
Impairment: is a loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or
function. Impairments are disturbances at the level of the organ which include
defects in or loss of a limb, organ or other body structure, as well as defects in or
loss of a mental function.

is any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of the ability to perform

an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human
being. It describes a functional limitation or activity restriction caused by an
impairment. Disabilities are descriptions of disturbances in function at the level of
the person.


is a disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from an impairment or a

disability, that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal
(depending on age, sex, and social and culture factors) for that individual.
Handicap describes the social and economic roles of impaired or disabled persons
that place them at a disadvantage compared to other persons. These disadvantages
are brought about through the interaction of the person with specific environments
and cultures.

A human example involving all three terms is blindness of an 65 year old female. Blindness is
the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.
Emile is a 65 year old female who recently lost sight in both eyes as a result of suffering from
Impairment: Emiles inability to use her eyes due to blindness is an impairment. Her level of
impairment causes problems with orientation and mobility.
Disability: Not being able to see is Emiles disability. In order for her to walk she now has to use
a cane or depend on someone to guide her from one place to the next. Furthermore, Emile is not
able to move around her own house as well as she used to and interact with others. Routine tasks
such as cooking, cleaning et cetera can no longer be done by Emile.
Handicap: Emiles blindness in handicapping to the extent that she is confined to her home and
has become socially isolated. Moreover she is unable to visit the places she loved to visit on her

Carter, S, (2013). Department of Pediatrics Impairment, Disability and Handicap. Retrieved from
World Health Organization. International classification of impairments, disabilities and
handicaps. Geneva: WHO, 1980.
World Health Organization. (2003). The United Nations and Disabled Persons- First Fifty Years.
Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/dis50y10.htm