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The Diversity of Disability

You are on the portal for people with disabilities and/or chronic illness. But when are you considered disabled or chronically ill in Germany? The answer to this question is also regulated by law in §2 SGB IX (Book XI of the German social code). A person is considered disabled if he or she is likely to be unable to participate in life on an equal footing with others for longer than 6 months due to a mental, intellectual, physical or sensory impairment.

In addition to disability, a distinction is made between impairment, equal status and severe disability:

The term impairment is used to describe a state of health that deviates from that which is typical for the person's age. A person can make an application for equal treatment if the officially determined degree of disability (GdB) is at least 30 per cent but less than 50 per cent and the person concerned runs the risk of not being able to get a job because of their disability, or of losing their existing job. Severely disabled persons have an officially determined degree of disability of at least 50 per cent.

One speaks of a cognitive impairment when the so-called cognitive abilities (thinking, remembering, concentrating, motivation, perceiving) are impaired to an above-average degree. It is divided into 4 degrees, mild, moderate, severe and very severe. The classification is based on the level of the intelligence quotient (IQ). The best-known cognitive impairment is trisomy 21, also known as Down's syndrome. However, Down's syndrome itself is not a disease, but a peculiarity of the genes and a combination of cognitive and physical impairments.

There are also differences different degrees of hearing loss: a distinction is made between moderate hearing loss, where the hearing loss is around 50 dB, severe hearing loss, where the hearing loss is between 70 and 90 dB, and profound hearing loss, where the hearing loss is over between 90 and 120 dB.

Mobility impairment refers to all limitations that affect the body's ability to move. This disability includes not only the wheelchair user, but also, for example, those with restricted movement in the arms or legs, etc..

This term can be used to refer to a mental illness that impairs how the person affected thinks, feels and acts. There are a variety of mental health conditions. Examples include depression or eating disorders.

Other mental health issues include, for example, addiction. Someone who is addicted is dependent, which in turn suggests that the person is no longer acting of their own free will, but because they feel they have no choice in their addictive behaviour.

A visual impairment is classified into 4 levels. 1. Mild: A person with 30% vision. 2. Moderate: someone who has less than 10%. 3. Severe: someone who has less than 5% vision. Blindness: If someone has less than 2% vision.

Speech impairment includes, for example, stuttering or lisping. Stuttering is when letters are pronounced individually several times before the complete word can be pronounced. Example: Ha-Ha-Ha- Hello. Lisping, on the other hand, refers to the incorrect formation of S-sounds, mainly occurring in children.

A specific learning disorder is when, as the name suggests, a person has difficulties with specific skills. This disorder has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence or even laziness. Children can also have problems with reading, writing or arithmetic well into adulthood. A combination is also possible, such as problems with reading and spelling.


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