About conditions and impairments

This section provides a general overview of the different types of disabilities (conditions and impairments) including implications of the disabilities. The information is collated from different sources to provide a relevant summary to the Kenyan audience and links (signposting) to further information.  Please note that the details provided in all cases are a general guide only - specific diagnosis and management of conditions should be done by a qualified doctor.

Disability -The Definitional Paradox: - moving from Concept  to Operational Definition*

  • There is no single operational definition of disability.
  • The question one is trying to answer (the purpose) will determine which definition to use.
  • There is need to understand the choices that are being made when choosing a definition.

Examples of Operational definitons:

The medical model of disability considers the person to be ill, needing to be ‘treated’ or ‘cured’. Services that took this approach were traditionally run by non-disabled people, assuming that people with the same label required the same treatment, which would often focus on enabling them to better fit in with the non-disabled world. This has been replaced in the UK by the social model of disability. 

The social model of disability draws the distinction between disability and impairment. Impairment means the loss or lack of functioning in a part of the body, resulting in physical differences or limitations. Disability refers to the meaning society attaches to the person with an impairment, how they respond to it and the disadvantage or restrictions placed upon them. It is the negative attitudes, the inflexible organisational procedures, the inaccessible information and the barriers in the built environment that restrict the lives of people with disabilities.

For the purpose of this website:

A disability is any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions). See more details here.

Categories of Disabilities

Important Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, emergency treatment or formal first-aid training. Do NOT use this information to diagnose or develop a treatment plan for a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider. 

*Reference: Moving from Concept  to Operational Definition - Comments by Jennifer H. Madans, Ph.D., National Center for Health Statistics, USA, at the  International Day for Persons with Disability: Thirtieth Anniversary, Dec 2011.