Progression advocates that disability is part of normal human experience and its solutions are guided by best practice and are in line with legislation. The prevalence of disability in a society is influenced by both political and economic factors. It is estimated that 10 – 26% of the worldwide population is regarded as living with a disability. In South Africa there are no reliable statistics regarding the incidence of disability but it is estimated that 10% of the population are regarded as living with a disability.
Disability is a condition caused by an accident, trauma, genetics or disease, which limits a person’s mobility, hearing, vision, speech and intellectual or emotional functioning. According to the Employment Equity Act people with a disability are people who have a long term or recurring physical, including sensory, or mental impairment which substantially limits their prospect of entry into or advancement in employment.
Unlike physical and systematic barriers, attitudinal barriers that often lead to discrimination cannot be overcome simply through laws. The best remedy is familiarity – getting people with and without disabilities to mingle as co-workers, associates and social acquaintances. In time, most of the attitudes will give way to comfort, respect and friendship.