What is Life-Long Physical Disability?
Physical disability pertains to total or partial loss of a person’s bodily functions (eg walking, gross motor skills, bladder control etc) and total or partial loss of a part of the body (eg a person with an amputation).
What are some examples of life-long physical disabilities?
Examples of physical disability include:
- cerebral palsy;
- muscular dystrophy;
- acquired spinal injury (paraplegia or quadriplegia);
- post-polio syndrome;
- spina bifida.
There are many different kinds of disability and a wide variety of situations which people experience.
Does this mean you have the disability from birth or childhood?
- The disability may exist from birth or be acquired later in life.
- A person may have one disability or a number of disabilities.
- A person may be treated as having a disability when in fact he or she does not.
- A person's disability may be apparent, such as loss of a limb; or hidden, such as epilepsy or post-polio syndrome.
- Disability may be more or less severe in its impact.
- People with the same disability are as likely as anyone else to have different abilities.
How is this different from a broken arm or leg?
A broken arm or leg usually heals up with a functional return to activity similar or the same as the ability before the fracture (break). The Physical Disability Council of NSW priorities focus on those people who have a physical disability which exists for the rest of their lives.
How many people in NSW live their lives with a physical disability?
To determine the incidence of physical/ diverse disability in NSW, the Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN) has used data from a number of sources to make the following two determinations:
- The number of people aged 0- 64 years living in NSW with a physical/ diverse disability that impacts on activity limitations and participation restrictions 
- The number of people of all ages living in NSW with a physical/ diverse disability that impacts on activity limitations and participation restrictions
There are approximately 147,000 people aged between 0- 64 years living in NSW with a physical/ diverse disability that impact on activity limitations and participation restrictions, and approximately 937,000 people of all ages live in NSW with a physical/ diverse disability that impact on activity limitations and participation restrictions. For more information, please click here.
 Australian Government- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Disability and Disability Services in Australia - Australia Welfare 2005 extract www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442467812
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