What is a physical disability?

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The NHS describe a physical disability as a limitation on a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina.

Physical disability may be present from birth or acquired later in life, it may remain the same throughout life or get worse over time. Some disabilities are hidden.

For a person to be offered protection under the Equality Act 2010, they must meet all three criteria.

Their disability must:

  • be substantial
  • be long-term
  • affect day-to-day activities

Examples of physical disabilities:

  • Dystrophies e.g. Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Brittle bones
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Genetic conditions e.g. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome TUBB4A
  • Spina bifida and hydrocephalus
  • Acquired brain injury from illness or injury e.g. brain tumour or road traffic accident
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