Disabilities are physical or mental conditions that limit a person's movements, senses or activities. Sometimes individuals are born with disabilities and in other cases individuals may acquire a disability at a certain stage of their life, such as during their elderly life.
The term disability is rather broad considering that it encompasses a wide array of possible impairments. For example, sensory disabilities can have many variations including deafness or blindness, and can affect other senses such as taste. Mental disabilities are in another category which is very broad in scope. For instance, mental disabilities can include intellectual impairments and psychological illnesses.
In terms of social work, many community and governmental organizations work directly with individuals who struggle with a disability and assist them in overcoming the barriers they face on a daily basis, as well as issues related to integrating into their environments. Often, many social-based organizations depend on individuals to volunteer their time so that social programs can function. Programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Community Living organizations, which run in Canada, are examples of organizations which depend on volunteers. Furthermore, different government funded programs provide financial assistance for individuals and families dealing directly with disabilities.
Traumatic events such as natural disasters and automobile accidents can also cause an individual to acquire a disability. In many cases, disabilities are permanent and individuals must learn to cope with their impairments so that they still have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives. Often it is through social-based programs that individuals receive the support which they require.