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Persons with Disabilities Resources: Types of Disabilities

This guide is an introduction to concepts and a gateway to resources around disability information, supports, legislation and rights. It was developed in consultation with members of the disability community and NSCC staff who work closely with them.

Learning Disabilities

Learning disability - a specific developmental disorder that inhibits or interferes with the skills of learning, including speaking, listening, reading, writing, or mathematical ability. Source:  Learning Disability. (2016). In J. L. Longe (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 668-671).

Community Supports

Autism Nova Scotia -  "We are a community-based organization that builds understanding, acceptance, and inclusion for individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their families through leadership, advocacy, training and programming across the lifespan."

Learning Disabilities Association of Canada - LDAC provides "national leadership in the shaping of public policy and federal legislation, working effectively to ensure that the voices of individuals with learning disabilities are heard by those in the federal government."

Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada - "CADDAC is a Canadian national charitable  organization dedicated to improving the lives of those with ADHD through ADHD awareness, education and advocacy."

Physical Disabilities

Disability - any physical, mental, sensory, or psychological impairment or deficiency resulting in the lack, loss, or substantial reduction of the ability to perform some normal function....Physical disabilities include blindness, deafness, deformity, muscular and nervous disorders, paralysis, and loss of limbs. Source: "Disability." The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, edited by Jacqueline L. Longe, 3rd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2016, pp. 321-324.

[Video]. SHAMELESS: The ART of Disability. 2006. NFB. (NSCC W# and password required)

Art, activism and disability are the starting point for what unfolds as a funny and intimate portrait of 5 individuals. Director Bonnie Sherr Klein turns the lens on the world of disability culture and the transformative power of art.

Community Supports

Canadian National Institute for the Blind - "Founded in 1918, the CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast."

Canadian Hearing Services - "Canadian Hearing Services (CHS) is an industry-leading provider of services, products and education that empower the Deaf and hard of hearing to overcome barriers to participation. We are the largest and only Accredited organization of its kind in North America."

Society of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians - "SDHHNS is a non profit organization serving the approximately 58,000 Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and late deafened people in the province of Nova Scotia. Incorporated in 1980, the Society is mandated to develop and manage coordinated services to assist Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and late deafened people in gaining full access to public, private and community services."

Canadian Paraplegic Association (Nova Scotia) - "CPA (NS) provides a range of comprehensive, equitable and holistic services for persons with SCI and other mobility disabilities, as well as their families and friends."

Neurological Disabilities

Disorders of the nervous system are identified as neurological conditions, and can disrupt normal functions and movements of the body. Symptoms can include:

  • paralysis
  • weakened muscles
  • low coordination
  • loss of sensation
  • seizures
  • confusion
  • pain
  • altered cognitive functions

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada.

Community Supports

Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia - The Association is "committed to building a community of support for brain injuries in Nova Scotia through programs, education, resources, and tireless advocacy for better supports and services for brain injuries across Nova Scotia."

Chronic Illness

Chronic illnesses - diseases that are long in duration, have multiple risk factors, have a long latency period, are usually noncontagious, cause greater and progressive functional impairment, and are generally incurable. Examples of common chronic illnesses include heart diseases, cancers,  diabetes mellitus, kidney diseases, chronic mental illnesses,  and some of the results of accidents or injuries. Source: "Coping: Chronic Illness." Psychology & Behavioral Health, edited by Paul Moglia, 4th ed., vol. 2, Salem Press, 2015, pp. 448-452. Salem Health.

Community Supports

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Maritimes Chapter - "Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of children and adults affected by these diseases."

Mental Health Disabilities

Mental illness -  also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function. Source: Mayo Clinic.

Community Supports

Centre for Addiction & Mental Health - "CAMH provides a wide range of clinical care services for patients of all ages and families, with Access CAMH as your centralized point of contact."

Canadian Mental Health Association, Nova Scotia Division - "CMHA NS Division’s mission is to support the Mental Health of all Nova Scotians. This mission is achieved through the provision of community-based supports and services that promotes positive mental health- quality of life- and prevents mental ill health related injury and disease."