Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hidden disabilities

I do not know about you, but I am guilty of raising my eyebrow when an individual exits a car that is parked in the handicapped spot minus any visible disability.

However, have you considered that this individual might have a hidden disability? Granted not everyone that has a hidden disability has access to a handicap spot...I know I do not.

A hidden disability, physical or mental impairments, is a catch-all phrase for disabilities that are not visible. A majority of people assume that all disabilities are able to be seen, but what happens when a disability is not visible?

The law states...
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of persons with handicaps in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Section 504 protects the rights not only of individuals with visible disabilities but also those with disabilities that may not be apparent.

Section 504 provides that: "No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...."

Individuals that have a hidden disability may be accused of being lazy, disruptive and disorganized. Unfortunately, people, including myself, do not own a disability club card that proves that we have a legitimate disability therefore questions may arise that we are "faking a disability."

Hidden disabilities include:
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder
Heart disease
Chronic illness
Attention deficit disorder
Learning disabilities
Hearing impaired
Visually impaired
Multiple sclerosis

And the list goes on......

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