chapter  1
24 Pages

Who Is Disabled? Defining Disability

The question of how we should define disability is not merely the beginning of an analytic exercise. We encounter the problem of definition as soon as we take an interest in disability. For example, how many people have disabilities? Estimates of the incidence of disability worldwide and within countries vary greatly among the estimators, because not only methods of gathering information about disabilities, but also understandings of what constitutes disability, vary greatly among those gathering the information. Questions of definition arise in countless practical situations, influence social policies, and determine outcomes that profoundly affect the lives of people with disabilities.