When we talk about disabilities, we always remind people using a wheelchair and walker for commuting or those who have a guide dog to navigate the way; however, some disabilities are not visible. An invisible disability is just as life-affecting as a visible one, but they’re not as talked about and easily understood.
There are no national statistics about exactly how many Canadians have invisible disabilities. But according to a 2012 Statistics Canada survey, 3.8 million Canadians aged 15 and older report that a disability limits their daily activities, and one in five of these people said they don't use an assistive device. That means almost 760,000 people in Canada suffer from invisible disabilities when surrounding people hardly notice.
What Does Invisible Disability Mean?
An “invisible,” “non-visible,” “hidden,” “non-apparent,” or "unseen" disability is any physical, mental, or emotional impairment that goes largely unnoticed. An invisible disability can include but is not limited to: cognitive impairment and brain injury; the autism spectrum; chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia; Deaf and/or hard of hearing; blindness and/or low vision; anxiety, depression, PTSD, and many more. Because we cannot determine invisible disabilities at a glance, they may be overlooked, which causes further harassment and discrimination.
People With Invisible Disabilities May Feel Insecure to Share Their Problems!
When it comes to invisible disabilities, people feel insecure about talking about their problems and sharing their hard-time experiences. A person suffering from gastrointestinal disorders may need to go to the washroom several times a day and may feel embarrassed to share his problems with his co-workers or even employers. This lack of awareness and understanding, and the resulting attitudes, can hurt a person with an invisible disability in many ways and limit them from reaching their full potential.
Open Communication Is the Key.
It is very crucial to modify the way we talk and think about invisible disabilities. We need to have open communication and open minds to think about different problems of people and come up with practical solutions. Communication and information help reduce the amount of harassment, discrimination and other difficulties that people with disabilities encounter on the job. In this regard, employers can play an important role in easing the situation and improving all workers' productivity in different situations.
How Much Are You Ready To Help Workers With Invisible Disabilities at Workplace?
As an employer, how are you ready to provide the required accommodations to help your workers with invisible disabilities? How your HR team is prepared to give information about different problems and discuss the diverse needs of the workers? Job owners can think about these questions and find the most effective answers to create a better and inclusive workplace for their employees with invisible disabilities.