Everyone experiences the world differently and we might all need some support from time to time.

What is a disability?

A disability is a word used to describe something which affects your body. Some children and young people are born with a disability, while others can develop a disability throughout their lives.

Disabilities can be:

  • Passed on through your family before your birth
  • The result of difficulties during your birth or your mother's pregnancy
  • Developed during your life, for example if you are involved in an accident or develop an illness
  • A condition, such as a mental health difficulty, which comes and goes

Some types of disabilities

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Developmental
  • Cognitive – connected with how our brains work
  • Sensory – related to our senses

Having a disability can mean that getting around is difficult because of our physical bodies and how the world is built. It can mean that we see and understand things differently to others and this can impact on our lives and on our relationships.  

Your rights

Whether or not you have a disability, everyone has the right to:

  • Play sport and take part in different activities
  • Find new interests
  • Developmental
  • Be in relationships and have sex (when we are over the age of 17)
  • Have a career and other opportunities

Remember, you have the right to get support. If you need help, is there a trusted adult you can talk to? Childline is always here to listen to you and support you if you would like to talk.

Support is available

No matter what type of disability you have, you have the right to support and help to allow you to live your life as you would like to. There are many different organisations which are available to help and support you on your journey.

These include:


National Disability Authority


Enable Ireland


Health Services Executive

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