Renoit portriat of two women signing

The following are brief descriptions of some of the various types of disabilities and how they affect the lives of those who have them.

Disabled: Persons with physical, sensory, or mental impairments that can make performing an everyday task more difficult.

Autism: a disorder that severely impairs development of a person's ability to communicate, interact with other people, and maintain normal contact with the outside world.

Cerebral Palsy: a range of neuromuscular disorders caused by injury to an infant's brain sustained during late pregnancy, birth, or any time during the first two years of life. People with cerebral palsy have a wide range of difficulties, from a clumsy walk to an inability to speak or swallow, caused by faulty messages sent from the brain to the muscles.

Blindness: a complete or almost complete absence of the sense of sight. Blindness may be caused by any obstacle that prevents rays of light from reaching the optic nerve of the eye or by disease of the optic nerve, or the part of the brain connected with vision. It may be permanent or transient, complete or partial, or occurring
only in darkness (night blindness).

Cystic Fibrosis: disorder in which the exocrine glands secrete abnormally thick mucus, leading to obstruction of the pancreas and chronic infections of the lungs, which generally cause death in childhood or early adulthood.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): a progressive autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own central nervous system, gradually destroying myelin, the white, fatty substance that surrounds nerve fibers, thereby damaging sites in the brain and spinal cord.

Poliomyelitis, Polio: infectious virus disease of the central nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis. Also known as infantile paralysis affects children between the ages of five and ten years.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD: a complex neurobehavioral childhood syndrome characterized by problems with attention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and distractibility. It sometimes continues into adulthood, but can usually be helped with medication and other therapies.

Epilepsy: Epileptic seizures occur when a group of nerve cells in the brain (neurons) become activated simultaneously, emitting sudden and excessive bursts of electrical energy. This hyperactivity of neurons can occur in various locations in the brain and, depending on the location, have a wide range of effects on the sufferer from brief moments of confusion to minor spasms to loss of consciousness.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Lupus: a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause. Lupus is an auto-immune disease. This means that the body produces antibodies (which normally defend against disease) that attack its own tissue. Lupus can be a life-threatening disease and may affect every organ in the body. It strikes women far more often than men, and is most common among women of child-bearing age.

Narcolepsy: a chronic lifelong condition of excessive sleepiness. It's commonly accompanied by an abrupt and irresistible urge to sleep, resulting in frequent naps lasting from a few minutes to an hour. Sudden muscle weakness, hallucinations, and a sense of sleep paralysis while awake are also possible symptoms of narcolepsy.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): a potentially disabling condition that can persist throughout a person's life. The individual who suffers from OCD becomes trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are senseless and distressing but extremely difficult to overcome. OCD occurs in a spectrum from mild to severe, but if severe and left untreated, can destroy a person's capacity to function at work, at school, or even in the home.