Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Types of Disabilities

With the exception of temporary conditions, the below categories of diagnoses are permanent. While there may be periods of flare-ups/remission, change in severity or need for treatment, individuals with the following conditions retain the diagnosis for life.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

AD/HD is characterized by difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, fidgeting, distractibility, impulsivity and inattention.


Auditory impairments result in hearing deficits. Based on the degree of hearing deficit, individuals are either Hard of Hearing or Deaf. Students may use a range of assistive devices, including hearing aids and cochlear implants, and they may lip read. It is critical to note use speaking strategies/tips with individuals who lip reader as lip reading accuracy is estimated around 65%.

Chronic Medical Illness

The nature of chronic conditions varies widely and can include flare-ups, periods of remission, and need for regular or frequent treatment. Side effects of many treatments can also result in further functional limitations. Examples of chronic illnesses include:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Crohn’s
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Spina Bifida
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

Often labeled as Specific Learning Disorder, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia refer to difficulties in reading/writing and in math respectively. Both disorders are characterized by difficulty processing and/or reproducing written or mathematical content.


Neurological conditions may include but is not limited to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Visual Processing Disorder, and Auditory Processing Disorder. The severity and the specific functional limitations vary widely.


Affects the ability to move part or all of the body. May be limited to upper or lower limbs or result in the need of a wheelchair. Mobility difficulties may be a stand-alone diagnosis, part of a chronic condition, or a temporary condition.


Psychological diagnoses may result in mental and/or behavioral limitation(s). Common conditions include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia


Visual impairments may be partial vision loss, total lack of sight, or visual sensitivity. Vision deficits are categorized as partially sighted, low vision, legally blind, or completely blind. An individual does not have to be totally blind to be legally blind.


Temporary conditions are those with a limited duration, commonly resulting from accident/injury or surgery. Accommodations are set to expire when no longer needed or at the end of a semester, based on student intake meeting. Students may extend temporary accommodations as needed.