According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, invisible disabilities are physical, mental, or neurological conditions that are not visible from the outside, “yet can limit or challenge a person’s movements, senses, or activities.” These disabilities include symptoms or limitations that may not be obvious to an onlooker, such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, or cognitive dysfunctions. Examples of invisible disabilities include brain injuries, learning disabilities, mental health disorders, as well as hearing and visual disabilities. Invisible disabilities may limit daily activities, vary from person to person, and range from mild challenges to severe limitations.
Are you a person with an invisible disability, a family member or friend, or a service provider and would like to learn more? NIDILRR has and continues to fund research and development activities related to different types of invisible disabilities, including visual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury (TBI), mental health disorders, and more. NARIC’s information specialists searched the NARIC collection and found over 40 articles related to invisible disabilities and over 60 articles related to hidden disabilities, in addition to hundreds of publications on individual disabilities such as TBI or autism. Are you interested in learning about how invisible or hidden disabilities are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Contact your Regional ADA Center to learn more about your rights and responsibilities under the ADA. To learn more about invisible or hidden disabilities and to find resources in your area, contact NARIC’s information specialists by phone, email, or chat.