Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Americans with Disabilities Act

Thank you for your comments and emails about how fighting the pain caused by wind. Yes, trigeminal neuralgia and other facial pain conditions are disabilities. It's important to know why. I'm going to provide a link where I pulled the information for this entry. Let's take a look at how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability:  

"Disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment."

Knowing what the ADA means by impairment is essential to understanding what a disability is.

"(1) The phrase physical or mental impairment means --

(i) 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."

Trigeminal neuralgia is a neurological disorder, mentioned above: "anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following systems: neurological."

If we back up to look at how the ADA defines a disability, we see that the impairment must substantially limit a major life activity. Here is the definition for a "major life activity:"

 "(2) The phrase major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working."

Do you often have difficulty caring for yourself (cooking, brushing your teeth, entering an environment because of the wind)? Speaking? Working? 

Invisible disabilities, such as trigeminal neuralgia, are valid. Here's the link to the portion of the ADA quoted. Scroll down to Sec.36.104 Definitions Americans with Disabilities Act

Take good care!

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