Living with a non-visible disability or ‘hidden impairment’ can be difficult for many people. Those with a hidden impairment may feel under pressure to justify their support needs or they might be reluctant to ask for support when they need it.

UK Disability History Month (18 Nov-18 Dec) is a key opportunity to raise awareness of this.

There are many different impairments that are considered to be ‘hidden’, such as:
• mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder
• autism and Asperger’s syndrome
• visual impairments or restricted vision
• hearing loss
• sensory and processing difficulties
• cognitive impairment, including dementia, traumatic brain injury, or learning disabilities
• non-visible health conditions, including diabetes, chronic pain or fatigue, respiratory conditions, incontinence.

Even though the disability can’t be seen by others, it’s no less important or impactful on someone’s life than any other visible disability. The Equality Act 2010 recognises the hidden impairments and gives disabled people the right to request ‘reasonable adjustments’.

Some people may choose to wear carry a badge to show that they have a hidden impairment. You might see a Sunflower lanyard for example, as this organisation aims to help people identify to others. It’s a scheme recognised by many business and the NHS. Find out more here.

The government wants to hear your feedback. If you have a hidden impairment, you can share your thoughts about what can be done to support disabled people with a hidden impairment, by contributing to the Disability Unit’s National Disabled People strategy. Find out more here.

Hidden disabilities at Progress Housing Group
This October, ten interns joined the Group as part of Project Search - a programme for students with learning disabilities and autism. One of our new interns, Oliver, wrote about his experience of starting work at Progress, click here to read Oliver's blog.

To find out more about Project Search, please click here to visit the DFN Project SEARCH website.

Our tenants and hidden impairments - Kelly Ann's story
One of our Reside tenants called Kelly Ann is deaf, and her hidden impairment has caused her difficulty with everyone wearing masks. Click here to read Kelly Ann's story.