Invisible Disability Awareness Week
October 20, 2022
This week is Invisible Disability Awareness Week, part of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month campaign to help raise awareness and build support for those who are coping with complex chronic diseases.
Many often ask what the term invisible disability means. In simpler terms, it is a “physical, mental, or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker and vary from person to person, which may lead to misunderstandings, false perceptions, and sometimes incorrect judgments.
Leaders in this campaign, the Invisible Disabilities Association state that, “people often judge others by what they see and often conclude a person can or cannot do something by the way they look. This can be equally frustrating for those who may appear unable, but are perfectly capable, as well as those who appear able, but are not.” The bottom line is that everyone with a disability is different, with varying challenges and needs, as well as abilities and attributes.
Getting accommodations at work or at school can be an uphill battle, and a challenging one for someone who already doesn’t feel their best. This is one of the many reasons why our labor movement continues to be at the forefront of the struggle for civil rights laws, according to the AFL-CIO, of which AFA is a part.
Our AFA Employee Assistance Program offers some navigation and resources for this week. One simple thing Flight Attendants can do in showing support for those with invisible disabilities is just being willing to listen and understand. A good listening ear and by treating everyone the same, regardless of whether they have a physical or invisible disability goes a long way in supporting those with disabilities.
Other ways in showing support is by taking part in the week on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, by sharing the Invisible Disabilities Association’s posts. When referring to the week, tag #InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek or #visiblecourage. You can also download an IDW badge and upload it to your social media profile images.
Other ways to celebrate the week include:
United’s BRG Bridge is committed to being any ally for employees with disabilities.
The following organizations and sources offer resources and support groups to help people living with invisible conditions learn more about their disease, connect with others, and advocate for the rights of those living with the same condition. For more information, please visit the Invisible Disabilities Association website.