3 Initiatives to Raise Awareness of Hidden Disabilities


Not all disabilities are obvious from the outside. Mental conditions or hearing impairments are quite known to the citizenship, but a person could have breathing difficulties, incontinence, allergy or chronic pain, just to name a few.

Those with invisible disabilities often receive judgemental stares or outrageous comments in public toilets when they are using the accessible washroom or in car parks. Sometimes they are even denied access to the restroom, because of their disability is not apparent. Furthermore, some disorders complicate the fact of sharing a big space with a lot of people. That’s why several associations and individuals are actively trying this situation to get better.

1. Changing the mindset with the WC pictograph

Some supermarkets like ASDA already considered their customers’ comments about the toilet signs and they have been renewing them. Other businesses are adapting, especially thanks to a campaign promoted by Crohn’s and Colitis UK, as well as users themselves.

2. A simpler way to ask for help

Journey Cards in English public buses allow disabled travellers to identify themselves quickly and specify what help they need. In a card and short sentence, the bus driver can read “Please, count my change” or “Please, wait for me to sit down”.

Likewise, blue badges with the message “Please, offer me a seat” were available to wear in the London tube. This way, passengers with hidden disabilities would not have to ask constantly.

3. New assistance in overwhelming spaces

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has officially requested airports to create new protocols and give proper training in next months in order to prevent passengers with hidden disabilities from getting lost or feeling upset.

Some airports have already implemented discrete identifications, clearer speech and alternative routes for those disabled but not necessarily in a wheelchair. That’s the case of the wristband in London Southend or the lanyard and Dementia Friends Champions in Gatwick Airport.

We should not assume that people do not have a health issue because we are unable to detect it. From our side, IFS team aims at advising on bathroom fittings that are suitable for the end user. Do not hesitate to contact us regarding hand dryers categorised as quiet or kid-friendly, as well as any doubt about our different sorts of bathrooms grab rails and easy-to-operate appliances like infrared taps or automatic soap dispensers.

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