Invisible Disabilities You Should Know

What is an Invisible Disability?

According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, the term invisible disability refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunction, brain injuries, learning differences, mental health disorders, as well as hearing and visual impairments. They are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder characterized by a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that disrupts functioning in both children and adults typically, a person with ADHD, the difficulties lies in the part of the brain that allows people to perform higher level task known as the executive function. 90% of people with ADHD also have an executive function disorder. This is the part of the brain that engages in goal-direction and self-regulations.

Two Types of ADHD:

Types of ADHD

Type 1: Inattention Without Hyperactivity

  • Trouble paying attention
  • Trouble following direction
  • Trouble following through with task
  • Easily distracted
  • Seems disorganized or careless
  • Slow to process information

Type 2: Hyperactivity Without Inattention

  • Trouble paying attention
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsive speech and action
  • Excessive talking
  • Difficulty waiting turns
  • May have a quick temper
  • Overactive

 Autism Spectrum Disorder

 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.

 Dyslexia

Dyslexia is also known as a language-based disability. It is defined as difficulties with accurate and word recognition and by poor spelling which can affect reading fluency, reading comprehension, recall, decoding, writing, spelling, and sometime speech. Signs of dyslexia in adults include:

  • Poor spelling
  • Avoids writing task
  • Gifted and creative
  • Difficulty in following oral and written instructions
  • Difficulty staying on task
  • High level of frustration
  • Difficulty in retaining information
  • Test-taking anxiety.
  • Highly curious
  • Insightful
  • Curiosity
  • Good communication of stories read to them

 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) according to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These affects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is not a diagnosed rather, it is a term that is used to describe a wide-range of effects on a person whose mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, show in three areas: abnormal facial characteristics, slowed growth and the central nervous system.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders affects each person differently. Signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Abnormal facial features including a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • Small head size
  • Shorter than average height
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgement skills
  • Sleep and sucking problem
  • vision and hearing problems
  • Seizures
  • Processing information
  • Problems with the heart and kidneys
  • Poor concept of time
  • Trouble getting along with others
  • Staying on task

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formally known as sensory integration dysfunction) is a condition in which the brain has difficulty in receiving information from the senses.

Signs and symptoms may include:

·       Oversensitive

·       Common sounds may be overwhelming

·       Uncoordinated

·       Hard to engage in conversation or play

Facts and Statistics- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is defined as a disorder that includes two core symptoms- obsessions and compulsions. According to the Census for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obsessions are defined by:

  • Thoughts, impulses, or images that occur over and over again. These thoughts, impulses or images are unwanted. They cause a lot of anxiety and stress.
  • The person who has these thoughts, impulses or images tries to ignore them or tries to make them go away.

Compulsions are defined as:

  • Repeated behaviors or thoughts over and over again or according to certain rules that must be followed exactly in order to make an obsession go away.
  • The person feels that the purpose of the behaviors or thoughts is to prevent or reduce distress or prevent some feared event or situation.

The following are facts and statistics on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

  • 1.2% of U.S. adults had OCD in the past year.
  • OCD was higher for females (1.8%) than males (0.5%).
  • Among adults with OCD, approximately one half (50.6%) had serious impairment
  • 34.8% of adults with OCD had moderate impairment
  • 14.6% had mild impairment.
  • OCD affects 2.2 million adults
  • The average onset is 19 with 25% of cases occurring by age 14
  • One-third of affected adults first experience symptoms in childhood
  •  17% of autistic people may specifically have OCD
  • Because of similar characteristics, it is often overlooked
  • It affects people of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability worldwide for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age
  • 1 in 40 adults are affected.
  • 1 in 100 children are affected
  • Other conditions may co-exist with OCD including anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, autism spectrum, Tourette syndrome, and major depressive disorder.
  • Worldwide, OCD is approximately 2% of the general population
  • OCD ranks 10th place among all diseases
  •  1 in every 200 children has the disorder 60 to 70% of OCD children improve significantly with therapy.
  • Many people still hide their OCD behaviors.
Beyond OCD.org
Healthy Place.org
National Institute of Mental Health

7 People With Less Visible Disabilities Talk Misconceptions and Stigma

Source: Teen Vogue
Written By: Paula Akpan

Some disabilities are more immediately apparent than others, particularly if the person uses an aid such as a wheelchair. Others, however, aren’t as obvious. The Invisible Disabilities Association defines invisible disability as “a physical, mental, or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, sense, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker.” As a result, not only do people with invisible or less visible disabilities have to make day-to-day adjustments to exist in the world around them, but they must also navigate misconceptions about their condition —including the idea that they aren’t disabled “enough.” Click here to read the rest of the story.