BAHS 320 Mental Health Invisible Disabilities.docx

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Running head: INVISIBLE DISABILITIES Invisible Disabilities: Their Impact on a Person’s Identity and Quality of Life Jose E. Figueroa, John-Paul Griarte, Tyler Henderson, Kristine Hood, Zulema Joseph BEHS 320 7380 Disability Studies (2175) Professor Lucy Wong Hernandez University of Maryland University College 1
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INVISIBLE DISABILITIES Mental Health Issues The way a person is viewed by society tends to have a lasting effect on individuals, especially when one has a disability. The visualization of what is “normal” creates a stigma in most people’s minds when faced with something or someone they are not used to interacting with. A view that one “who is not like me”, must need assistance or is worse off than them is prevalent throughout all of society. The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability. [ADA17] An invisible disability is of course unseen, something that cannot be seen with the eye and/or is not immediately obvious. There are so many common misconceptions with regards to having a disability, that according to [Sue], a myth surrounding disability is that the majority of disabled individuals use wheelchairs. “Of the 49 million individuals with disabilities, only about 10 percent use wheelchairs, crutches, or walkers. Most have disabilities related to cardiovascular problems, blindness, developmental disabilities, or invisible disabilities such as asthma, learning disabilities, or epilepsy" (p. 488). Most of the time individuals who are invisibly disabled will be told that it is “all in your head’ or “just get over it” or “stop faking it”. As others do not deem that the person is truly suffering, that they are in distress or in pain from something that is not readily seen. These expressions perceived from colleagues, maybe even friends and family, doctors, and society.
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