In recent decades some invisible disabilities such as autism, traumatic brain injury and diabetes has skyrocketed. At the same time new invisible disabilities have appeared, such as fibromyalgia, metabolic syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities. There are hundreds of diagnoses that can come under the heading of invisible disabilities.
The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is dedicated to making a difference in these people’s lives, regardless of their particular disability. They describe their work this way:
We are here to provide awareness, education, connection and support for everyone who lives with a debilitating condition. We do this by offering articles, pamphlets, booklets, resources, radio, video, seminars and more to give hope and compassion to all living with invisible disabilities as well as information for loved ones to better understand. . . .
Unlike organizations that pertain to just one condition, the term invisible disabilities covers hundreds. Therefore, IDA does not attempt to supply a vast amount of detailed information for every diagnosis. IDA’s website, publications, seminars and awareness address all debilitating conditions that are often misunderstood. IDA also offers many resources to information about various illnesses, help with costs of medications, disability benefits and more.
They have put together a 56-page booklet called But You LOOK Good: How to Encourage and Understand People Living with Illness and Pain that is designed to help friends and family members understand the disconnect between looking good and feeling good, and gives them simple, pragmatic ways to be supportive and encouraging.
The IDA website also provides an online community where people touched by invisible disabilities can meet and share their stories and provide each other understanding and support. Even people who don’t share the same condition may have some of the same life difficulties and can share with each other they ways they have found to cope.