Invisible Disabilities

Image via Rick Hansen Foundation

Since July is Disability Pride Month, it is important to think about those with hidden disabilities that you might not notice at first glance. Hidden disabilities include impairments of speech, mobility, hearing, or sight, as well as learning disabilities. It can also include those suffering from chronic illnesses or chronic pain. Ten percent of people living in the United States have an invisible disability, and 96% of those with a chronic illness have a condition that is invisible. These disabilities can cause immense hardships for those living with them. Since they are not obvious at first, many are accused of faking their illness and others might not always understand the full extent of it. Additionally, day-to-day activities are much more demanding and exhausting for those with hidden disabilities.

Hidden disabilities greatly affect college students, as they are the most common types of disability in this population. The most common of these hidden disabilities include ADHD, anxiety, learning disabilities, and visual/hearing impairment; however, there are many other invisible disabilities affecting college students. Many people can be living with heart or stomach conditions, chronic muscle pain, or other conditions that are not obvious. This is why it is important not to judge or mock others. Most people with invisible disabilities try to hide them from others. According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation, 39% of people with a hidden disability have revealed it to their manager. The main reasons that people choose to hide their disabilities are fear of being judged and teased, concern that others will treat them differently, and fear of not being able to get jobs or opportunities due to their disability.

The Invisible Disabilities Association is a great platform for those with a hidden disability, as it gives people the opportunity to connect with others going through similar experiences. It also allows people to support those with an invisible illness through donations and fundraisers. The Invisible Disabilities Association also hosts events and posts informative content on their social media pages. If you are living with a hidden disability or would like to express your support, the Invisible Disabilities Association is a great website to check out.