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At Smile, as part of our Pride 365 initiative, we are celebrating and raising awareness around disabilities during the month of April. In this blog, we wanted to raise awareness around invisible disabilities.
Invisible disabilities are physical or mental impairments that are not readily apparent to others. When working in a school environment, knowing and understanding invisible disabilities is key to ensuring your student's success as many invisible disabilities can hinder children's progress.
Some examples of invisible disabilities would be:
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Those with an invisible disability may find it difficult to go to school, socialize, take care of themselves/others or access services. All of these components are what make up a happy and healthy school life and help make your students successful, so it’s really important to accommodate students that are at a disadvantage. Here are a few ways to do so:
Stigmatisation is a huge issue for people with invisible disabilities as they may present as able-bodied and therefore people may make negative judgements. This fear of stigma means that some individuals will prefer not to talk about their disabilities so trying to offer assistance when they don’t want it can make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Instead, opt for talking to them on an individual basis away from the rest of their classmates, ask what they can and cannot do and what you can do to help if that is what they want.
Make sure the student feels supported, you can do this by being familiar with their Letter of Accommodation, being flexible with missed classes and making up work or providing notes or assigning a note-taker. By implementing these strategies you are going to make your student feel comfortable meaning they will feel at ease asking for further help if they need it and will experience less stress day-to-day leading to better well-being and academic performance.
By assuming somebody in your class has an invisible disability you can make sure you are being inclusive. Try to make all of your class materials accessible, some ways you can do this are by; avoiding green or red text, avoiding all caps or italics, using auditory descriptions during videos and captioning videos. For students that haven’t been diagnosed or don’t know they have a disability, these actions can help create a more equal learning environment.
We love celebrating people from all walks of life and as an education recruitment agency one of our core values is diversity and inclusion. Check out our other blog about inspiring teachers with disabilities and keep an eye out for our other Pride 365 blogs in the future.
If you’re looking for a new school role and are looking for an inclusive agency to join, you are in the right place, send us your cv today!