What are disabilities?


My name is Nicole Deleon Guerrero and I am currently working as an intern at the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NMPASI) as part of my on-the-job training (OJT) through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). I am receiving services through OVR as a person with an anxiety disorder. I chose to work at NMPASI because I hope to gain experience as a receptionist/data entry specialist and I wanted to learn more about how NMPASI helps people with disabilities.

I found out that one of NMPASI’s goals and priorities is “to advance the understanding of and appreciation for Protection & Advocacy services and disability-related issues in the CNMI” and that the staff have challenged each other to submit disability-related information for print in our local newspapers. They encouraged me to write something as well—this will be my first attempt to write anything for the newspaper.

I did a little research of my own and wanted to get our community involved, so I went ahead and sent random emails to different people asking each of them what knowledge they have on disability overall.

First of all, disability as defined by Google is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, intellectual, mental, sensory, developmental, or some combination of these that results in restrictions on an individual’s ability to participate in what is considered “normal” in their everyday society. Another definition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is that it’s a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.

The definitions for disabilities mostly talk about limitations of a person, although there are many practices today that could make their living somewhat normal, depending on the type of disability each individual has.

As you read through you’ll find some of my results from different people who participated in my email inquiry.


Name: Andrew Burnette 
Occupation: Medic U.S. Army

“My thoughts on disability are if someone is truly suffering from a disability whether mental or physical we as a society have an obligation to help these individuals. If that help is from employment opportunities or home care. No one wants to have a disability

so we should do all we can to help them with their needs.”

Name: Elias Q. Saralu Jr.
Occupation: Police Officer III, Department Of Public Safety

1 “A disabled person is a special person with special needs.”
2.“Disability is a condition that restricts or limits an individual from their physical or mental capabilities.”

Name: Jocelyn Aldan
Occupation: Manager at Jiang Zheng Group Inc. Real Estate Company

“What I know about people with disabilities. I know that they go through a lot of things. From being bullied, mocked around, and misunderstood. If people were to stop all of that and try to know them, maybe they will be surprised. People with disabilities have harder ways to be in the society just because of people misunderstanding them. Also being judgmental and not knowing the person has a disability.”

Name: Darlene Aldan
Occupation: Administrative secretary for Rep. Joseph Lee “Pan” Guerrero

“Disability to my understanding is an impairment that a person is born with. It can appear in many ways. To name a few there are physical, mental, sensory, and developmental growth. These impairments cause limited abilities to an individual to participate with their daily lives in which we also know as “normal living.” To how disabilities occur I have yet to understand fully. Some say it is possible by genetics, consumptions or emotional ways of a woman during pregnancy, a baby’s growth and position while in the womb, and a woman impregnated at an older age from the late 30s and above. I believe the special benefits and leniency on living required by law for people with disabilities are fair for all communities, for they are not to blame for an abnormal living. And that they should all be treated equally as a normal person with respect, understanding and dignity. We see them as one less ability in living than others or we can look at it the other way and say we are entitled to give an extra ability to help our loved ones with special needs.”


As I read more on the subject and the different types of disabilities, I came across finding out the common causes of disabilities which can happen from accidents, birth, diseases, aging, and lifestyle choices. I also read more on People’s First Language, and I think everyone should know that we as a society emphasize the person and not their diagnosis.

It was really exciting and interesting to find out how well our community is educated on this subject. I was so happy to see on how quick everyone responded and replied whether it was through email or me asking personally. I really appreciate how everyone wanted to be involved.

I thank each and everyone who participated. God Bless!

For more information about disabilities, please contact NMPASI at 235-7273/4 or visit us online at www.nmpasi.org.

Nicole H. Deleon Guerrero
NMPASI intern

Nicole H. Deleon Guerrero

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