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Meaning and Definition of Multiple Disabilities

Children with Multiple Disabilities
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | May 29, 2018 (Last update: March 9, 2023)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

Multiple Disabilities is the simultaneous occurrence of two or more disabling conditions that affect learning or other important life functions. These disabilities could be a combination of both motor and sensory nature.

Multiple Disabilities could be two different types of physical disabilities, two different mental disabilities, or a combination of physical and mental disabilities. Common examples of Multiple Disabilities are:

  • Intellectual disability and blindness
  • Mental retardation and orthopedic impairment
  • Locomotor disability and speech impairment.

This condition can affect a person so severely that special measures would be required for her developmental and educational needs.

In countries like USA, deaf-blindness is not included in the category of Multiple Disabilities because there is a separate classification for deaf-blindness in laws like Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA).

In the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD) — there in no separate classification for deaf-blindness. So, in India deaf-blindness would be part of the category Multiple Disabilities.

Children with Multiple Disabilities

Special strategies need to be deployed for providing education to the children with multiple disabilities.

Strategies for Dealing with Multiple Disabilities

Following strategies could help ensure a better life for persons with multiple disabilities:

  • A multi-disciplinary team consisting of the parents, educational specialists, and medical specialists  should work together to plan and coordinate necessary services to be given to a student with multiple disabilities.
  • If required, professionals like occupational therapists, speech/language therapist etc. should also be involved.
  • School and home must be made easily accessible
  • A buddy system should be created.

Tips for Parents of Children with Multiple Disabilities

  • Parents should learn about all the disabling conditions of their child.
  • Be aware of what are the special needs of your child. Make sure that these needs are taken care of.
  • Love your child and treat her just like your other children.
  • Encourage your child with multiple disabilities to be independent and help her in every way possible.
  • Involve your child in daily chores that she can safely do.
  • Stay in touch with doctors and other professionals who can help your child.
  • Participate in support group of other parents whose children have similar disabilities. Share you experiences with other parents and learn from their experiences.
  • Keep doing research on Assistive Devices that could be of help.
  • Be patient. Children with learning disabilities are slow learners. Give time to your child to do things as her own pace.
  • And most importantly… be hopeful. With your help, your child can live a good and meaningful life.

We hope this article clarified your doubts on what’s the meaning of Multiple Disabilities. Please share with us if you have experience with Multiple Disabilities. Sharing information helps everybody! Thank you for connecting the WeCapable.

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4 responses to “Meaning and Definition of Multiple Disabilities”

  1. Avatar Gurdev Singh says:

    Why not children suffering with type 1 diabetes come under disabilities?

  2. Avatar RAVI SONI says:

    Sir i really fall in a situation that i am handicap but doctor can’t approve my disability. I have locomotive disability in both hands. I can’t revolve my hand properly ( whenever someone give you something, that time how you took it, by revolving you hand, i can’t take that thing.). Give me some suggestion how i Got a Disability Certificate.

    • Avatar Arun Kumar Singh says:

      Apply for a disability certificate online @
      Fill in the required form online. Depending upon the place of residence, you will be given the option to choose the hospital. Take a printout of the filled-in form and visit the hospital. Doctors there would examine you and upload a disability certificate on ‘swavlamban’ website if you are found eligible.

  3. Avatar Arun Kumar Singh says:

    I have two disabilities…
    1. Locomotor @ 60%
    2. Low Vision @ 30% Total average is assessed at 70%.
    Whether I would be considered as a Person with Benchmark (multiple) Disabilities
    Because my low vision is assessed @ 30%, I would be considered as a locomotive (OH) disabled person for availing various Govt. benefits.

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