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Or the term may serve to refer to the identity of disabled people.
Physiological functional capacity (PFC) is a related term that describes an individual's performance level.
In some countries, the law requires that disabilities are documented by a healthcare provider in order to assess qualifications for disability benefits.
Contemporary understandings of disability derive from concepts that arose during the West's scientific Enlightenment; prior to the Enlightenment, physical differences were viewed through a different lens.
Contemporary concepts of disability are rooted in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century developments.
Foremost among these was the development of clinical medical discourse, which made the human body visible as a thing to be manipulated, studied, and transformed.
Disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these.
It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime.
Coined by Mike Oliver in 1983, this phrase distinguishes between the medical model of disability – under which an impairment needs to be fixed – and the social model of disability – under which the society that limits a person needs to be fixed.It may be used to refer to physical or mental attributes that some institutions, particularly medicine, view as needing to be fixed (the medical model).It may refer to limitations imposed on people by the constraints of an ableist society (the social model).In the early modern period there was a shift to seeking biological causes for physical and mental differences, as well as heightened interest in demarcating categories: for example, Ambroise Pare, in the sixteenth century, wrote of "monsters", "prodigies", and "the maimed".The European Enlightenment's emphases on knowledge derived from reason and on the value of natural science to human progress helped spawn the birth of institutions and associated knowledge systems that observed and categorized human beings; among these, the ones significant to the development of today's concepts of disability were asylums, clinics, and, prisons.
Quetelet postulated that one could take the sum of all people's attributes in a given population (such as their height or weight) and find their average, and that this figure should serve as a norm toward which all should aspire.