This site is intended to support people with hidden impairments. Why have I used the term-hidden impairments? Because over the last 15 years we have seen many disability rights movements established! These movements have helped society to make appropriate alterations to enable disabled people to have better opportunity to participate within our community. However it isn't necessarily the case for everyone! Some people are still experiencing much discrimination preventing them from having an equal opportunity to participate with society.
Because they have a medical difficulty that is invisible to other people. Sometimes this difficulty may be embarrassing to mention to other members of society. Perhaps in fear of how members of society will treat them! If you have difficulties reading and writing you will probably recognise this! Therefore people with Dyslexia (reading and writing difficulties) do not always want to discuss this difficulty with others. Maybe they will do their up most to hide this difficulty. This makes it more invisible because society can not see this medical condition like someone who uses a wheelchair. But for those with this difficulty understandably not wanting to tell others, results in this condition being kept hidden.
Another difficulty is that people with AD/HD or ADD has been stereotyped by society as being naughty children or aggressive adults. This is most unjustified! People with AD/HD or ADD have a neurological medical condition that prevents the brain working like other people's. Rather than supplying medical support societies will blame parents for bringing up their children badly! Because of bad imaging this condition can be very hidden or wrongly recognised!
Some people have medical conditions that courses severe pain often preventing them from participating with society. Wants again people with severe pain will often realise people don't want to know about this! Therefore it's easier for people experiencing severe pain to keep this to themselves. Again making this difficulty more hidden.
These are just a few examples of people with hidden impairments. There are many other medical conditions that are invisible/hidden impairments. This is starting to expand why I use the terminology "hidden impairment". However there is more! Disabled people and disability movements have been promoting the "Social Model of Disability". Why? Because society have focused on the medical condition of disabled people too much in the past. Often thinking that disabled people only need medical support in order to live. However to live is perhaps not the same as living or participating in the community like others. Perhaps society can't understand that wheelchair users may want to start a family like others in members of society! Of course not just wheelchair users! That's just to give you a picture. Disabled people want to participate with society like everyone else they have feelings and desires like other members of society. They certainly don't want to stay in a hospital bed and take medicine three times a day. This is why the disability movements have voiced the need for the "social model of disability.
"The social model of disability" is trying to take focusing on medical conditions away! Instead to look at the social needs of disabled people to participate with society on equal terms. At one presentation I attended it was voice that it doesn't really matter what medical condition causes somebody to use a wheelchair. What is more important is that there are people who are wheelchair users and society needs to make appropriate arrangements to allow wheelchair users to have ability to participate with society on equal terms.
Another difficulty is society had focused on medical names that started having negative use. Therefore the "Social Model of Disability" is to focus on the needs of disabled people to participate in society. Rather than label disabled people with medical conditions!
However perhaps the "social model of disability" hasn't recognised fully the needs of people with hidden impairments. Often at presentation I see a list of headings under the "social model" like wheelchair users, learning difficulties, visual impairments and hearing impairments. However no of those categories really represent people with hidden impairments. When I raise this question I'm often told that this belongs to the category "learning difficulties" I believe this certainly doesn't reflect the needs of people with hidden impairments.
So I would like to see if it's not already there a new category for people with hidden impairments. Another difficulty people with hidden impairments may have lost out on, is with the social model of disability as this is focusing away from medical terminology. People with hidden impairments often want to use medical reference to show society that they have a genuine difficulty.
Well I'm not sure whether I have done a good job at explaining the "Social Model of Disability" and the difficulties people with hidden impairments have. However this is a starting point and you are most welcome to join in bye adding your voice.
You can do this by sending me an e-mail and requesting me to display it here! Or by using the hi2u Space for Your Voice Forum. I will welcome other peoples views. However I don't wish to display abundance amounts of replies that are not from people with hidden impairments. I'm happy to display other peoples views however not to the point that it will drown people with hidden impairments getting there voice heard. Hope you are able to understand this.
Well many thanks for your time I hope this starts finding positive ways forward for people who feel they are getting a raw deal with society.
Look forward to hearing your views
Andy Hayes 1st August 2000
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