temporary disabilitiesLast updated
A temporary disability is any condition in which a person experiences a disability that is not expected to be lasting or become permanent. There are many types of temporary disabilities. For instance, a person may temporarily be unable to see with one eye due to a cornea injury, or they may be unable to walk while recovering from a broken leg. Other common examples would be a person who has restrictions placed on the amount of weight they can pick up or carry after a surgery, or a child who has temporarily limited hearing due to an ear infection. Temporary disabilities are common, can occur at any age, and are experiences people may have multiple times throughout their life. A person with a temporary disability may not identify as someone with a disability during that experience but should still be taken into consideration when thinking about accessibility or universal design.
Another commonly used term is “situational disability.” This term is most often used in a universal design context to refer to users whose experience is hampered by specific situations. For instance, a person who is having difficulty hearing the conversation at a virtual meeting because of a high noise level around them may be described as having a situational disability, and would benefit from captions. As with a temporary disability, it does not necessarily mean that they are or identify as having a disability.
- Introduction to Accessibility (Digital.gov)
- How Situational Disabilities Impact Us All (UserWay)
- Including Temporary and Situational Disabilities in the Accessibility Conversation (Bureau of Internet Accessibility)
A temporary disability is any disability that is not expected to be permanent or lasting, such as a broken arm due to an injury. A person with a temporary disability may not identify as someone with a disability during that experience but should still be taken into consideration when thinking about accessibility or universal design.