General Article Living with non-visible disabilities

Topic Selected: Disabilities Book Volume: 393

Government Disability Unit blogpost.

What is a non-visible disability?

A non-visible disability is a disability or health condition that is not immediately obvious.

It can defy stereotypes of what people might think disabled people look like.

This can make it difficult for people with non-visible disabilities to access what they need.

The impact of living with a non-visible disability can be slight, or can have a huge effect on someone’s life.

Why is it called a non-visible disability?

Many disabled people self-identify in different ways. There are several ways of talking about non-visible disabilities.

Some people with disabilities that are not obvious prefer the phrase ‘non-visible’. This is because the word ‘invisible’ can erase the legitimacy of the disability, or imply the disability does not exist.

‘Hidden’ disability can imply a person is hiding their disability on purpose. ‘Less-visible’ disability does not encompass those whose condition is completely non-visible.

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