Hidden disability, sometimes termed invisible disability, is defined as a disability that is not immediately apparent. We know that hundreds of different hidden disabilities touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland.
To live with any disability can be an enormous challenge but as public perception of disability is evidenced still as broadly tied to the identification of visible difference, those with a hidden disability are often not believed or understood because to others they “look good.”
This scenario can cause great strains on the individual’s wellbeing and on relationships between friends, family members and work colleagues. For example, at Headway and Epilepsy Ireland we see our clients living with ABI and epilepsy. They do not have visible disabilities at a glance, but for many people, we know and see that every day their hidden disability can make life very difficult at home, at work or just out and about in their day to day lives. Some experience huge challenges and additional stress as a result of their disability as well as the added burden of people not believing them because they don’t ‘see’ anything wrong with them physically.