Definition of Disability

Some mandated reporters interact daily with children who have disabilities, while others have only infrequent contact with these populations. Laws have been established which define disability and direct mandates for services.

Disability is usually defined using the American’s With Disabilities Act of 1990, which identifies a disability in an individual in part as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment” and further clarifies, “major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.” Major life activity also includes “the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.”

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