Hidden and Invisible Disabilities

Hidden and Invisible Disabilities

There is a never-ending debate about hidden disabilities not being as important as individuals with visible disabilities. At Equal Education Chances, we strongly disagree; we like to spread the message that everyone is valid in this world no matter who they are.

In this world, people can have very discriminatory opinions surrounding those with disabilities, especially hidden disabilities. This is called ableism; the term is explained below.

‘Ableism- The discrimination against people with any kind of disability based on the beliefs that typical abilities are better.’

Today we are going to discuss why people have these harmful opinions and how you can educate yourself into why hidden disabilities are just as important.

Here are some types of hidden disabilities:

Physical Health Conditions- When a health condition has a long-term and significant impact on an individual’s life, that is when it’s considered as a hidden disability. This could mean that they struggle carrying out daily activities or they suffer from vitamin deficiencies etc.

Chron’s disease, chronic pain and/or fatigue, encephalitis, myalgic encephalomyelitis, diabetes, and more. These are just a few of the many unpleasant health conditions that are classed as a disability.

Mental Health Conditions- Anxiety, eating disorders, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, and more are just a few examples of what mental health conditions are. There are so many different conditions, and the symptoms can massively differ due to what each person experiences. Although in the modern day there is more help available, there is still a difficulty in other being unable to understand people with these conditions and thinking/having certain opinions. This lack of understanding can affect people with these hidden illnesses in a negative way and could intensify their feelings and thoughts.

ADHD- This is an abbreviation meaning Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. When an individual has ADHD, it can mean some the following:

  • Being unable to sit still, especially in a quiet atmosphere
  • Fidgeting
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Talking excessively sometimes talking over people
  • Acting without thinking
  • Hyper fixating on certain things for short periods of time
  • Being impulsive- for example, spending money

How can I make it easier to recognise that someone has a hidden disability?

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is globally understood for non-visible disabilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, those with hidden disabilities were able to wear this lanyard around their neck meaning they have difficulties wearing a mask or may need additional assistance.

It is a non-verbal tool of communication which has helped so many individuals and it allows them to understand that they can take their time with tasks when out and about.

The motto of this movement is to “Make the invisible, VISIBLE!”

There is now a variety of sunflower items which are:

  • Pin badges
  • Wristbands
  • The original lanyard

Having different options can help those who have sensory issues and struggle to wear lanyards.

If someone chooses to share if they have a condition or not, you can gain a better insight into how to help them with anything or adjust certain things to make them feel more comfortable in specific environments. However, people don’t always feel comfortable sharing if they have a non-visible disability, so please don’t pressure them into talking.

Equal Education Chances accept anyone, no matter their condition and make everyone feel included. It can be an intimidating task for someone with a disability whether it’s hidden or not to take part in social events and that is the exact reason why we host a calm, fun, and free family forum session at Blackley Fire Station in Manchester, every Friday.

For more information about our charity or how to get involved, then please get in touch today!

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