Understanding the Four Main Types of Disabilities

Special Needs Group

Understanding the Four Main Types of Disabilities

As we work towards building inclusive communities, it's vital that we have a better understanding of disabilities, what it means to live with a disability and learn how we can best interact with persons with disabilities.

Here is an overview of the four main types of disabilities in Singapore:


It may be difficult to interact with persons with disabilities as they are unable to express themselves as well and view the world differently. So how do we best communicate with them?

Here are some tips from TOUCH Centre for Independent Living:
Engaging persons with behavioural or developmental needs 

1. Call for their attention from the front so that they have better awareness.
2. Use simple English or hand gestures to communicate with them.
3. Be patient with them if they need time to think and respond.
4. Provide visual aids or checklists if you need their help with something.

Here are some tips from TOUCH Silent Club:
Signing to a Deaf person

1. Maintain constant eye contact when you're signing.
2. Stand if you're signing to a group of people so that the signs are clear to see.
3. Make sure that you're in a well-lit environment and avoid distracting background noise.
4. If you're engaging the help of an interpreter, speak clearly at a moderate rate and explain any jargon to the interpreter beforehand and keep it to a minimum.

Bonus tip: Did you know that you can communicate with the Deaf even if you do not know sign language or do not have the help of an interpreter? Simply write on a notepad or type out your questions on your mobile phone and show it to them!

TOUCH Centre for Independent Living (TCIL) is a day activity centre for persons with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, providing basic training in daily living skills and personal social skills to empower them in building independence in their daily living. TCIL adopts a holistic approach in working with and training its trainees, believing that each one of them is capable of achieving their highest potential when given the chance to live an independent life. Special programmes like TOUCH SpecialCrafts also seek to activate the artistic potential in trainees and enable them to showcase their works through direct sales, auctions and charity fairs.

TOUCH Silent Club (TSC) aims to help every Deaf person integrate into the society and empower them to be independent individuals by offering guidance in the areas of education, vocation, recreation and social development. Besides organising social and recreational activities for the Deaf, we also provide job placement, job counselling and lifeskills training under the Work Assistance Programme. TSC also organises sign language courses for the public to raise awareness about the Deaf and promote integration.