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Invisible impairments

Some impairments and conditions are not immediately obvious. These are wide-ranging and include:

  • autism
  • chronic pain
  • mental health conditions
  • learning difficulties
  • hearing impairments
  • asthma
  • diabetes

Impact on the lives of disabled people

Disabled people with invisible impairments and conditions often experience negative attitudes, social isolation and a lack of understanding.

Just because someone doesn't 'look disabled', doesn't mean they don't face barriers.

What disabled people have told us

Scope often hears from disabled people who are not believed or are even accused of faking disability.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common to face rude or invasive questions about support needs and adjustments. Or even to be on the receiving end of nasty looks and comments when using blue badge bays or accessible toilets.

It is not right that people are routinely experiencing discrimination and negative attitudes, whether they are shopping, getting the train, applying for jobs or simply being part of their community.

Scope has found that almost half of disabled people feel excluded from society.

This needs to change.

Supporting resources

  • Top 10 tips for being a good ally.
  • Look out for the Sunflower lanyard. Some people with impairments or conditions may choose to wear a sunflower lanyard to identify themselves as needing support in shops, public transport and in public spaces.
  • End the Awkward. Two-thirds of Brits say they feel awkward around disabled people. Some people feel so awkward they avoid disabled people altogether. Scope’s End the Awkward campaign offers tips and conversations starters about disability.
  • Join Scope’s online community. It’s a vibrant and supportive space for disabled people, parents and carers to get disability advice and information, and talk to people with similar experiences. 
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