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Physical Disabilities

What is physical disability?

A physical disability is one that affects your mobility or dexterity, physical functioning or stamina. 

The Physical Disability Council of NSW Inc defines a physical disability as: “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.”

A number of conditions, some of which are permanent, others of a temporary or intermittent nature, may impair physical activity and mobility. Physical disabilities may result from congenital conditions, accidents or progressive neuromuscular diseases.

What are some examples of physical disabilities?

Physical disabilities may include conditions such as:

  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Paralysis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Polio/post polio
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury (paraplegia or quadriplegia)
  • Stroke

Where can I find more information to help me live better with my physical disability?

For most conditions, there are one or more specialist organisations that have been set up to provide specific information, resources, support and/or advocacy.

AQA Victoria (Australian Quadriplegic Association) - www.aqavic.org.au

Arthritis Australia - www.arthritisaustralia.com.au

Brain Injury Australia - www.braininjuryaustralia.org.au

Cerebral Palsy Australia - www.cpaustralia.com.au

Motor Neurone Disease Australia - www.mndaust.asn.au

Multiple Sclerosis Australia - www.msaustralia.org.au

Muscular Dystrophy Australia - www.mda.org.au

My Joint Pain - www.myjointpain.org.au

Osteoporosis Australia - www.osteoporosis.org.au

ParaQuad NSW - www.paraquad.org.au

ParaQuad SA - www.pqasa.asn.au

ParaQuad Tasmania - www.paraquadtas.org.au

Polio Australia - www.polioaustralia.org.au

Spina Bifida Foundation Victoria - www.sbfv.org.au

Spina Bifida Queensland - www.spinabifida.org

Spinal Injuries Australia Qld - www.spinal.com.au

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia - www.scia.org.au

Spine and Limb Foundation WA - www.paraquadwa.asn.au

The Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (AMDF) - www.amdf.org.au

Links and resources

You may also find very helpful resources among the following groups that cater for a variety of needs among those with physical disabilities.

Association for Children with a Disability - www.acd.org.au

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations - www.afdo.org.au

Department Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - www.fahcsia.gov.au

Disability Council NSW - www.disabilitycouncil.nsw.gov.au

Every Australian Counts - www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

Independence Australia - www.independenceaustralia.com

National Council on Intellectual Disability - www.ncid.org.au

National Ethnic Disability Alliance - www.neda.org.au

People with Disabilities ACT - www.pwdact.org.au

People with Disabilities WA - www.pwdwa.org

People with Disability Australia - www.pwd.org.au

Physical Disability Council of NSW - www.pdcnsw.org.au

Physical Disability Council of South Australia - www.pdcsa.org.au

Tasmanians with Disabilities Inc - www.twd.org.au

The First Peoples Disability Network - www.fpdn.org.au

The National Disability Organisations' Clearinghouse - www.ndoch.govspace.gov.au

Women with Disabilities Australia - www.wwda.org.au