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Invisible Disabilities

People with an invisible disability 

We are committed to making sure that people with a disability in Merri-bek have access to opportunities, support, and assistance, and that they can participate fully in their community. This commitment includes people with an invisible disability. 

Invisible disabilities are disabilities that cannot be easily seen from the outside. They are also known as 'hidden disabilities' or 'non-visible disabilities'. While some people experience disabilities that are visible to others, most disabilities that people experience are actually invisible. 

Some examples of invisible disabilities include neurodiversity, chronic fatigue, learning disabilities, mental illness, sensory impairment and many other disabilities which are less widely known or accepted as disability.  

People with invisible disabilities may face discrimination and harassment from other people who: 

  • Ask someone to disclose details about their disability. 
  • Make judgments about people taking time off work, school or other activities frequently or for long periods of time. 
  • Question or harass someone who is using a space designated for people with disabilities such as disabled permit parking spots and priority seating on public transport. 

Invisible disability campaign 

Most disabilities are invisible. Don't assume.

As part of our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2022-26 (PDF), Council have launched a campaign to challenge damaging assumptions and stereotypes and raise awareness and support for people with invisible disabilities. 

The campaign will involve: 

  • Providing resources for invisible disability education and support to the Merri-bek community. 
  • Installation of footpath decals across the municipality featuring the campaign slogan: Don't assume - most disabilities are invisible. 
  • Broadcasting video stories from Merri-bek community members with an invisible disability. 

Further actions are to be announced. 

Useful resources