Not all disability is visible – important lesson as stigma drives workers to hide conditions
Disability discrimination accounts for the highest volume of complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission annually and can lead those living with disabilities to choose to hide their condition from prospective employers, according to disability employment services organisation atWork Australia.
The need for support, open conversation and positivity has never been more important.
International Day of People with Disability will be celebrated on 3 December, this year with the theme of ‘seeing ability in disability’.
A press release from atWork Australia has been produced as a reminder that not all disabilities are visible and that conversations should be encouraged, promoting empowerment and inclusiveness. Mental health conditions, brain injuries and hearing loss affect more and more people each day. As do such conditions as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or epilepsy.
“Invisible disabilities or hidden disabilities, says Shaun Pianta, atWork Australia’s Disability Employment Services ambassador and disability awareness trainer, “are those that are not immediately obvious, including mental and/or neurological conditions, impairments to the senses, chronic pain ad issues that restrict movement.
“For example, people who live with a mental health condition may not ‘appear’ to have a disability, but much of their daily life is affected by their condition. It’s the same with chronic pain or diabetes. As a result of these conditions not being instantly apparent, this can lead to a multitude of misconceptions, judgements and, sadly, discrimination.”
Business leaders are encouraged to educate themselves and their employees on the benefits of employing someone living with disability and changing the focus to see the abilities these workers bring to their roles. The Department of Social Services has produced a number of resources that can help workplaces promote and acknowledge the achievements and contributions of people living with disability.