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A physical disability is a condition that limits the way the body works. For example, a physical disability may limit the way a part of the body grows, moves, or does what it is supposed to do.
Types of physical disabilities
A congenital disability is a disability that a baby has when they are born, or had before they were born. These disabilities used to be called "birth defects."
The most common congenital disability is congenital heart disease - problems in the way the heart grows and works. In 2013, 34.3 million people around the world had congenital heart disease. Congenital heart disease also causes more deaths than any other congenital disability. In 2013, it caused 323,000 deaths.
Other examples of congenital disabilities include:
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Spina bifida, a problem with the way the spinal cord formed while a fetus was growing
- Microcephaly, where the baby's head is smaller than usual
- Problems with the way the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, or gastrointestinal system grew while a fetus was developing
Examples of inherited physical disabilities include:
- Paralysis, caused by an injury to the spinal cord
- Brain injury, caused by a head injury or an illness (like an infection in the brain)
- Amputation of a body part because of injury or illness
- Chronic back pain from on-the-job injuries
- Chronic medical problems like epilepsy, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and cancer
Famous people with physical disabilities
There have been many famous people with physical disabilities. Below are some examples.
Leaders and politicians
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was the United States President from 1933-1945. He was paralyzed from the waist down from polio.
- King George VI, who was King of England from 1936-1952. He had a speech disorder (stuttering).
- Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955, also stuttered.
- John F. Kennedy, who was the United States President from 1961-1963. He had many painful health problems caused by Addison's disease and hypothyroidism.
- James Earl Jones, Emily Blunt, Hugh Grant, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis all have stutters.
- Michael J. Fox has Parkinson's disease.
Other famous people
- Stephen Hawking, an award-winning physicist and writer who is paralyzed from motor neurone disease.
- Jim Abbott, a baseball player who was born with only one hand. He played ten seasons in Major League Baseball; pitched a no-hitter; and won an Olympic gold medal playing for the United States in the 1988 Summer Olympics.
- Paralympic Games (Olympic Games for people with disabilities)
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- James Earl Jones. Interview with The American Academy of Achievement for the National Medal of Arts. The Voice of Triumph (Audio/Transcript). Sun Valley, Idaho. June 29, 1996. Assessed on February 12, 2016.
- "Movie Star Talks about Stuttering". Stuttering Foundation. 15 July 2011. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=731. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
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- Young, Scott (July 30, 1997). "Chapter 8: Buffalo Springfield and Epilepsy". Neil and Me. Music Sales Distributed. p. 68. .
- Gundersen, Edna (May 10, 2013). Lil Wayne can't recall seizures: 'I don't feel sick'. https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2013/05/08/lil-wayne-has-no-memory-of-seizures/2145185/. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
- "Prince reveals childhood epilepsy". BBC News Entertainment. April 29, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8024864.stm. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
- Mind over matter: How Stephen Hawking defied Motor Neurone Disease for 50 years. Independent.co.uk. November 26, 2015. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/mind-over-matter-how-stephen-hawking-defied-motor-neurone-disease-for-50-years-6286313.html. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
- Swaine, Rick. "Jim Abbott". Society for American Baseball Research. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/635e3a93. Retrieved February 12, 2016.