On the surface, everything looks fine. But what lies beneath is an entirely different matter. The fact is, not all disabilities are visible – many are hidden to the untrained eye. We call these invisible disabilities.
What’s considered a hidden disability?
Many medical conditions can be considered invisible disabilities, which are defined as disabilities which are not immediately apparent. These disabilities hinder a person’s ability to work, socialise or function in certain ‘ordinary’ situations or environments – exactly like visible disabilities. The only difference is that they are invisible, and it’s therefore more difficult to know when or how to accommodate the person with the disability.
Examples of invisible disabilities
The term ‘Invisible disability’ does not attempt to categorise a type of disability or disability group, and a broad number of different disabilities can be considered invisible disabilities. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- A person with a hearing disability who wears a hidden hearing aid or does not wear one at all
- A person who has vision impairment and wears contact lenses instead of glasses
- A person who suffers sever lower back pain and cannot sit or stand for extended periods of time, or who perhaps needs a special chair
- Someone suffering traumatic brain injury
- Someone with a chronic or recurring medical condition but which has no visible symptoms (such as chronic fatigue, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy)
- A person with a mental health or psychiatric condition.