The Commons
blind woman with white cane, young man with hearing aid, nude back and arm of anorexic woman, man with a migrane
Disabilities covers a wide range of physical limitations, medical concerns, and specific learning disabilities. Some of those disabilities are visible, but more often a disability can’t be seen.

For more information about each type, see the drop down menus below.

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Physical Disabilities arrow View
There are many areas of disability that fall into this category. These include but are not limited to:
  • Repetitive strain injuries (tendinitis, carpel tunnel syndrome)
  • Chronic pain conditions (back, neck, and shoulder - usually as a result of an injury)
  • Paraplegia, quadriplegia
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular Dystrophy (and related dystrophies)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (and related scleroses)
  • Temporary disabilities such as a broken limb - usually as a result of an injury)

Blindness and low vision arrow View
In Canada, someone who is "legally blind" has vision that is worse than or equal to 6/60 with best correction in the better eye or a visual field extent of less than 20 degrees in diameter, while someone with "low vision," as defined by the CNIB, has a range of vision of 10% of less or a field of vision 10 degrees or less.

Eye conditions can be caused by a number of factors such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa (tunnel vision), and nerve damage. Individuals with any of these conditions may seek the assistance of a service animal, see our service animal page for more information.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing arrow View
There are many reasons for hearing loss.  Some include the following:
  • Deafness at birth
  • An illness as a small child
  • Progressive hearing loss due to a congenital problem, accidents, exposure to excessive noise, and aging
Acquired brain injury arrow View
The most common cause of an acquired brain injury is a motor vehicle accident. Other injures can result from:
  • Not wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or snowboarding
  • A fall from a height
  • Being struck on the head
  • A brain tumor or aneurism
Chronic medical disabilities arrow View
There are many types of chronic medical conditions that may interfere with someone's post-secondary success. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Migraine headaches
  • Heart conditions
Mental Health Conditions arrow View
A number of conditions fall under this category, varying from permanent psychiatric conditions to less permanent conditions. Both types can interfere with someone's ability to concentrate on their school work. These conditions include but are not limited to:
  • Bi-polar Disorder
  • Depressive Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Paranoid Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Phobias
  • Eating Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The Canadian Mental Health Association,, has an extensive online library and resources about understanding mental illness.
Specific Learning Disability (SLD or LD) arrow View
A Specific Learning Disability (SLD or LD) is an ongoing condition due to an impairment in information processing.

Often individuals with LD are mislabeled as slow learners. See the learning disabilities page for more details on LD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder arrow View
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder in which an individual typically shows inappropriate degrees of inattention, over-activity, and impulsivity. 

This disorder often appears in early childhood and is usually chronic. In addition, the behaviors that individuals with ADHD display are not readily explained by sensory, language, or motor impairment; a developmental disability; or, severe emotional disturbance. 

See the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, for more information.