Types of Disabilities

A disability is an impairment (usually permanent) that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The most represented categories of disabilities that the Office of Disability Services provides academic accommodations for include, but are not limited to:

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is a neurobiological, genetic disorder, characterized by difficulty sustaining focus and attention, hyperactivity, and /or difficulty controlling behavior. Although ADHD appears in childhood, the disorder is often lifelong.


A condition that is medical in nature and currently impacts at least one major life activity, including learning. Often the impact of a medical disability is unpredictable and can change depending upon external stressors. Treatments for medical conditions are often more disabling than the condition itself.

These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cancer 
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Crohn's Disease 
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Spina bifida 
  • Ulcerative Colitis


A learning disability is a neurological disorder where the brain works differently in how it takes in, uses, and outputs information. Although most individuals with a learning disability possess average to above average intelligence, they have difficulty with one or more areas such as math, reading, speaking, writing, spelling, visual-spatial perception, processing speed and understanding language.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is an acquired injury to the brain.  It can manifest limitations in multiple disability categories, including cognitive impairments.


A visual impairment describes vision loss, resulting in either impaired vision or a complete lack of sight.  Visual impairments may be categorized as partially-sighted, low vision, legally blind or completely blind.


A hearing impairment describes an impaired ability to hear and/or discriminate sounds.  There may be a decreased ability to hear, no ability to hear at all, or a student may struggle with processing sounds, i.e. (central) auditory processing disorder. Hearing impairments can occur in different areas of the hearing pathway and may be genetic or caused by non-genetic factors.


A mobility impairment is a broad category that includes any condition that makes it difficult for the student to move about and use their upper and/or lower limbs.


Mental or behavioral patterns that may cause significant impairment or distress in several aspects of a student's life, such as school, relationships, career, etc. These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • PTSD