Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Persons with Disabilities

  • Carol J. GillEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_591


The term “persons with disabilities” is open to various interpretations, definitions, and uses. This entry addresses the broad question: Who are persons with disabilities, and what is their experience? It has been argued that viewing persons with disabilities as a distinct group despite their widely varying characteristics and conditions is a Western artifact rather than a universal concept spanning variations in time, culture, or geography (Anand, 2009). Therefore, although the construct now is used globally, as evidenced by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN General Assembly, 2006), this entry mostly addresses “persons with disabilities” from a Western perspective, specifically grounded in the USA.


Two broad policy-based definitions useful in understanding both the social and the embodied experience of “persons with disabilities” are the following:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990states that “... the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Disability and Human DevelopmentUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA