Department of Health Services Logo

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Disabilities Home

Aging and Disability Resource Centers

County and Tribal Aging Offices

Disability Benefit Specialists

Family Care

Independent Living Centers

IRIS

Long Term Care Programs

Pathways to Independence

Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
and People with Physical Disabilities


How Does ADA Define Disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA) has a three-part definition of disability. Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

A physical impairment is defined by ADA as "any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine."

Neither ADA nor the regulations that implement it list all the diseases or conditions that are covered, because it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list, given the variety of possible impairments.

Last Revised: April 18, 2013