Invisible Disabilities Association kicks off awareness effort

This week is the beginning of Invisible Disabilities Week, a week to raise awareness for diseases that aren't immediately obvious but have a strong affect on patients. Parkinson's, Epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder or Lyme Disease are a few of the "invisible" disabilities. (Screenshot/Invisible Disabilities Association)

Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder and Lyme Disease are serious conditions with the capacity to alter the course of a person’s life, yet if you pass someone affected by them on the street, you would never know it. The Invisible Disabilities Association kicked off a social media campaign this Sunday designed to bring awareness to these conditions during Invisible Disabilities Week.

#InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek is central to the week’s overall theme, “Hearing is Believing,” which will culminate in an IDA Awards Gala Oct. 23 in Colorado, where corporations, healthcare workers and volunteers will be recognized for their contributions to the organization. At the University of Connecticut, the week will come to a head with the Center for Student’s with Disabilities’ Wear Blue Wednesday. Students and staff are encouraged to wear blue to promote disability awareness and to post a photo and 100 word essay or short video about what Invisible Disability Week means to them using #InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek.

The Rainbow Center’s weekly Out to Lunch lecture series will feature Kay Ulanday Barrett, noted poet and Trans 100 Honoree, in “Ableism 101 (Intro to Disability Justice)” from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Barrett will facilitate a workshop on the intersection of race, class, and disability in the LGBT community geared toward “SDQ,” or Sick & Disabled Queer/Transgender Indigenous or People of Color, students. 

Many of Invisible Disability Week’s other events are online, with a complete list available on the IDA’s website.

“On Kick-off Sunday,” Oct. 18, participants were encouraged to incorporate the IDW badge available at invisibledisabilities.org into their Facebook profile pictures and to create their own fundraising page for the Invisible Disabilities Association on Click & Pledge Connect. As of Monday, the IDA’s page has made only $204 of their $5,000 goal, but the collection is set to continue throughout the week.

“My Story Monday” continued the theme of awareness by encouraged social media users to post a photo and a 100 word essay or short video about the importance of disability awareness.

“Tell a Friend Tuesday” focuses on promoting the IDA’s work in person and online using #InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek.

“Thankful Thursday” returns to the photo essay format with an emphasis on thanking the friends, family and caretakers that give the disabled community inspiration, strength and hope throughout the year.

“On Five for Friday,” participants are asked to donate $5 to support the IDA on Click & Pledge Connect.

Finally, those affected by Invisible Disabilities Week can share what makes them feel cared for with #InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek to close out the celebration.


Kimberly Armstrong is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.armstrong@uconn.edu.