Currently the Equality Act 2010 defines disability as “if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.” Hidden disabilities are heavily made up of those with psychosocial impairments, and some of them you may never have even associated as a disability. Did you know that more than half of the 13.5 million people currently identified as disabled in the UK have hidden impairments? Globally, 1 in 7 of us live with a disability – and of those, 80% are invisible. That is 1 billion people who are living with a non-visible disability. This is why UK Disability History Month’s aim is to highlight these issues and raise awareness for those affected.
Cognitive or neurological impairments, such as a specific learning difficulty i.e dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc
General learning difficulties
Mental health impairments such as anxiety, depression, shell shock/PTSD, bipolar or schizophrenia
Metabolic impairments such as lupus, HIV, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, heart conditions, arthritis, hormonal conditions, etc
Sensory issues such as hearing loss, visual conditions, speech, and communication
We believe that the more education and guidance on hidden disabilities, the more we can help to improve the lives of those dealing with them. We highly encourage all our staff, patients, service users, and the public to take advantage of the campaigns and resources available to make for a more inclusive world. Education of the public and the individual into what neuro-disability looks like can be done through conferences, blogs, campaigns, and charity events. The ‘It’s Everyone’s Journey’ campaign for equal access on public transport is a great movement that provides research, awareness and guidance to ensure the safety and inclusivity of disabled people on public transport.
Badges are also a great way to signal to a hidden disability without direct communication. The Sunflower Lanyard Badge Scheme discreetly indicates that you may need additional support or help. The simple sunflower design on a green background is a subtle yet well-known sign to enable those around you to identify that you have a hidden disability, as well as increasing awareness and curiosity in those who do not already know. Sainsbury’s have even gone one step ahead and initiated the sunflower lanyards to be available to pick up and use throughout all of their stores, with colleagues happy to provide extra support for those who need it. Similarly, the Blue Badges are also available to help you park closer to your destination if you are disabled. Go to your local council’s website for information about the scheme.
To learn more and get involved with UK National Disability Month 2021, visit UKDHM.org and keep updated on Active Care Group’s news and views for content regarding improving the quality of life for all.