What is an invisible disability?

Have you heard of an invisible disability? Often after a stroke or brain injury people have symptoms that others can not see and have difficulty understanding. Some of these symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, pain, emotional impairments, and cognitive impairments. Sometimes when others don’t understand your impairments it can be frustrating and even further disabling.

If you have an invisible disability after a stroke or brain injury occupational therapy (OT) can help in a number of ways.

  • First an occupational therapist can help you identify strategies to manage your invisible symptoms. For example if your memory is impaired an OT may help you identify how you can use your smartphone as a memory tool.
  • An occupational therapist can help you learn to communicate to others what your invisible disability is and what accommodations you may need. For example if you have difficulty understanding others when they talk too fast you may learn to ask others to speak slower or write down important points.
  • Finally, an occupational therapist can help you know your rights and how to advocate for them. For example, in the US your employer must provide reasonable accommodations to adjust your job or the work environment that will enable you to function as an employee. For example, if you have chronic fatigue and must stand most of the day at work you may benefit from having a stool available at work.

If you’d like to learn more about how occupational therapy can help you manage your invisible disability, contact us today.