Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Disability 101: Invisible Disability

What is an “invisible disability?”

“Invisible disability” is pretty much what it sounds like: a disability that may not be obvious to the casual observer, but one that nevertheless impacts the person who has it in a number of ways—-often to the point of impacting the daily life of the afflicted person. “Invisible disability” is most often used to describe conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, the early stages of MS, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Lupus, Epilepsy, sleep disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and chronic pain. The term is also used to describe mental health conditions that adversely impact one’s daily life and functioning. Often, people with invisible disabilities do not use “conventional” markers of disability, such as a cane, wheelchair or assistance animal. Because invisible disabilities are not easily discernable to the casual observer, many of these disabilities are not taken seriously by many able-bodied people, or even thought of as disabling conditions.

2 comments:

Trix said...

While it's not "invisibility" per se, there is also the aspect where people literally don't believe the condition exists. If you haven't seen this tosspot article on Salon by Robert Burton telling you it's all in your mind yet, it's fairly illuminating as to the level of acknowledgement of the syndrome amongst some (most?) medical professionals.

annaham said...

Thanks for the comment, Trix, and yes, I have seen that (totally infuriating) article.