The Dynamics of Disability: Progressive, Recurrent or Fluctuating Limitations

Different from common perception, many disabilities do not follow a stable pattern. Persons with disabilities may experience periods of good health in between periods of their limitations and/or experience changes in the severity of their limitations over time. These types of disabilities may be characterized as dynamic because the very nature of the disability is one of change with different possible trajectories over time. As a consequence, the collective experiences of those with disability dynamics are likely to be different than those with so-called “continuous” disabilities.

In this paper, four groups of persons with different disability dynamics (or lack of dynamics) are profiled based on data from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability. Each group has their own unique demographic, employment, and workplace accommodation profile based on the length of time between periods of their limitations, as well as changes in their limitations over time.