A physical disability is one that affects the person’s mobility and/or dexterity.
Examples of physical disability include:
- cerebral palsy
- upper limbs
- 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.
Each person will have different causes, symptoms and management strategies making it difficult to generalise physical disabilities.
A physical disability may have existed since birth or it could be the result of an accident, illness, infection, disease, degeneration, medical condition or the result of congenital factors.
A person with a physical disability may require some assistance or the use of some sort of equipment to aid with mobility.
- People with mobility impairment rely on effective signage that is up to date and consistent in both style and placement.
- Provide clear and frequent signage to direct people around the building and to decrease the need for assistance.
- For people who use a wheelchair it is like a part of the person’s body; do not lean or hang on to the chair.
- Offer assistance if it appears necessary, but do not assume a person with a disability will require or accept it.
- Make sure that there is a clear pathway for a person in a wheelchair and do not leave articles such as chairs or boxes in areas that may block access.
- When communicating with a person with a physical disability it is important to acknowledge that each person is an individual and should be approached as such.
- Meet in a setting that is comfortable and does not cause anxiety or distraction.
- Ask the person about the most appropriate way of communicating with them.
- Do not assume that people with a physical disability cannot comprehend because of physical appearance.
- Speak directly to the person and not with someone who maybe assisting them.
- DON’T SHOUT. Speak in a tone appropriate to the setting.
- Make eye contact.
- Use an appropriate volume and tone in your voice.
- Where possible, position yourself at the same level as the person.
- Make sure the person has understood you. If necessary write the information down.
- Check with the person about use of adaptive technology to aid with communication.
- Limbs 4 Life – Empowering Amputees
- Physical Disability Council of Australia
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
- Independence Australia
- Scope Victoria