Understanding Disability

Who’s impacted?

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1 in 4

Adults in the U.S.*

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1 in 5

Undergraduate students**

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1 in 9

Graduate students**

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disability and Health Promotion

**Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Disability is diverse.

It can happen to anyone at any time. It happens to all of us as we age.

It can affect cognitive abilities, vision, hearing, speech or mobility – or some combination of those. 

You may have a picture in your mind of what a “disabled person” looks like, but many disabilities don’t “look” like anything. Cognitive disabilities are often overlooked, but are more prevalent than hearing and vision disabilities combined.

Disabilities can be…

ADHDSleep-deprivedDriving in traffic
BlindJust had eyes dilatedBright sunlight
DeafEar infectionNoisy environment
NonverbalMouth numb from dentistDon’t speak the language
ParalysisBroken armBroken mouse
Examples of permanent, temporary and situational disabilities affecting cognition, vision, hearing, speech and mobility.

Find more tools and guidance at accessibility.umich.edu, the university’s repository for digital accessibility knowledge.