Disability Defined

DPA follows the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)’s definitions of “disability” and “persons with disabilities”.

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, when in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Disability is defined as the result of the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Singapore Government’s Position

The Singapore Government uses the World Health Organisation  International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known more commonly as ICF. This classification is based on the idea that disability is not something that only happens to a minority of humanity. The ICF thus ‘mainstreams’ the experience of disability and recognises it as a universal human experience. By shifting the focus from cause to impact it places all health conditions on an equal footing allowing them to be compared using a common measuring system – the ruler of health and disability. Furthermore ICF takes into account the social aspects of disability and does not see disability only as a ‘medical’ or ‘biological’ dysfunction.

To read more about this method of classification, visit the WHO website.