July 16, 2006

'Invisible' disabilities

A look at some of the topics in Ragged Edge Online's libraries and archives.

If you have a disability and it doesn't show, does that mean you're not really disabled? That you're faking?

What kinds of problems are faced by people who have disabilities that aren't readily apparent to observers?

"I had to prove to the inquiring busybody that I was indeed an authentic crip," writes Megan Jones in her article Gee, You Don't Look Handicapped which ran in the Sept. 1997 issue of Ragged Edge.

Cal Montgomery writes, "I don't believe a distinction between visible and invisible disability is useful, or even meaningful." Read her article A Hard Look at Invisible Disability from our Print Archives.

The topic of invisible disabilities leads to the question: is there a real disability community? Nicolas Steenhout says, Disability community? What disability community? He questions whether a disability "community" even really exists.

Many people who can pass for nondisabled do so. They don't identify as "disabled." Perhaps not even to themselves. Candice M. Lee takes up this issue in a very personal way in her essay From 'Passing' to 'Coming Out'. Also read the short story Invisible Disability by Marlena Corcoran

People with environmentally-caused disabilities and multiple chemical sensitivities are among those who are the most "suspect": Many people think these individuals are simply deluded.

Nancy Foley, who directs Alliance for Injured Workers in western Massachusetts, writes that people with invisible injuries such as chronic pain or who have poorly understood diagnoses,like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity are not believed when they say they cannot work. Read The Stigma of Not Working.

Related articles:

Bill Stothers on the 1999 Supreme Court rulings: Who's disabled? What does it mean to be disabled?

Disabilitiy Shame Speaks, in Life from the Ragged Edge.

Clip 'n' CopySharon Wachsler provides a handy response to all those unsolicited "helpful suggestions." Cartoon.

And be sure to check out our earlier news archives on this or related topics -- or use our search feature to find more articles.

Posted on July 16, 2006