What Constitutes a Disability?

UCLA Campus

There are students who go through their college careers not realizing that they could have received services. We want to make sure that we explain what is considered a disability so that all who qualify receive services.

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including but not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment, 2009)

The CAE provides accommodations to students with permanent or temporary disabilities and most chronic medical conditions. Some disabilities are obvious, some are hidden. The following are general categories (by no means an exhaustive list).

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Psychological Disabilities
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Temporary Disabilities
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Blind and Low Vision
  • Mobility Disabilities

The ADA considers the following as disabilities only under certain conditions:

  • Pregnancy (only when it fits the definition of a disability)
  • Obesity (when there are resulting functional limitations)
  • Substance Abuse (only when in recovery)

If you are not sure if you have a disability, please contact the CAE.