When you meet somebody, they may seem like they are well and have it together but they could have an invisible disability.
Some invisible disabilities become more obvious once you get to know the person better while many of these disabilities may be completely hidden unless the person tells you.
Some of these include:
Mental health conditions
Chronic pain and fatigue disorders
These disabilities can impair physical movement, interaction with others and career progression or just holding down a job.
Sometimes people with these invisible conditions are frustrated because other people can't see that they are suffering and need help. Some sufferers may be seen as lazy or a hypochondriac if unable to work.
These invisible disabilities are not rare, as it is estimated over five million people in Australia suffer from these conditions.
These conditions include autoimmune disorders, depression, diabetes, vision impairments, trauma, autism spectrum disorder, learning and thinking differences such as ADHD and dyslexia, chronic pain, fatigue and dizziness.
Also post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injury, epilepsy, Crohn's disease, colitis, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia and many other conditions.
Of course the severity of the condition and whether it is progressive or is able to be managed has to be factored in.
Some people with these disabilities can lead completely normal lives with some minor adjustments while others need complex support physically, mentally and financially.
Invisible disabilities are not immediately obvious, making it harder for organisations to fulfil their legal obligations to comply with anti-discrimination laws. This can lead to loss of business, unintentional injury to staff and clients, public condemnation or litigation.
Invisible Disabilities Australia (IDA) is Australia's peak body to help people with invisible disabilities.
Their aim is to change attitudes, link people to needs, and contribute to an inclusive society.
"People with invisible disabilities are not being catered for in society," CEO Lynn Russell of IDA said. "Our aim is to support changes for the better in the community and in the lives for those living with an invisible disability.
"We need mutual recognition that everyone is not the same and so we need to provide for those who need support."
A business can be an invisible disability friendly organisation with an IDA sign while those with an invisible disability can receive a lanyard with an access card with information that can communicate their needs discreetly.
If they urgently need a seat or can't wait in a queue, for example, they can show their card on the lanyard.
Make the world a safer, kinder place and increase your client base with people who appreciate what you do.
Those with an invisible disability, we need to hear you and understand as well as help those who need help when they need it.
See invisibledisabilities.com.au for more details.
The Cram Foundation is one of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven's oldest and most respected providers of person-centred services to people living with complex disabilities.
"At Cram, we put our participants at the centre of everything we do," CEO Karen Burdett of The Cram Foundation said.
"We make a difference to the lives of the individuals and families we support by enabling choice and meaningful experiences."
Formed in 1932 after a need for facilities that supported people with a disability and their families was identified, Cram has gone through many different updates, locations and structural changes, including the iconic red brick building at the top of Crown Street that many locals will recall.
From humble roots, relying on the passion and commitment of volunteers, The Cram Foundation in 2023 has a modernised approach to its service delivery in individual homes that are bespoke to the participants' needs.
Managing 15 properties across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, equating to nearly fifty participants and their families, the same passion and commitment for people with a disability exists.
Cram's person-centred principle, the participant experience and quality outcomes for the individual is at the heart of everything they do.
Cram foster participant engagement, informed and autonomous decision making to ensure an enriching life that builds a participant's confidence and capacity.
The Cram Foundation's CEO, Karen Burdett says, "Our participants are at the core of all we do here at Cram, access to decision making about their own lives is paramount to their happiness and wellbeing, something we make sure happens every day."
With a focus on people with complex care needs, they are leaders in quality service to people with complex disabilities. Cram is accredited with the National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS) and the Australian Community Industry Standard (ACIS).
The additional ACIS accreditation ensures Cram has the correct quality control, procedures, and safeguards to confidently advocate and care for participants.
The additional Australian Community Industry Standard (ACIS) accreditation ensures Cram has the correct quality control, procedures, and safeguards to confidently advocate and care for participants.- CEO Karen Burdett, The Cram Foundation
The Cram Foundation has a dedicated group of disability support workers, nurses and corporate staff to ensure participants and their families receive personalised care at every level of service.
They have current vacancies available in their Supported Independent Living homes across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
If you've been thinking about living independently, contact them today, as Cram can assist you with your goals and the support you need to make the transition.
To find out more information, please visit the website at cramfoundation.com.au or contact the friendly team of The Cram Foundation on 4255 6900 or visit email@example.com.