Hidden Disabilities: The True Cost?

Saima in studio

It is estimated 12 out of the 14 million people living with a disability are dealing with one that is not visible.  It can affect people’s lives from getting a diagnosis to the type of education or job they are able to do. It is something Saima Moshin, the reporter of this film, knows too well.

“While working as a foreign correspondent my foot was run over in an accident.  My life changed overnight. I have to deal daily with chronic pain.  I am far from alone when it comes to living with a health condition that is not obvious.” Saima Moshin, Broadcaster 

Millions struggle all the time with various conditions that cannot be physically seen. From autoimmune diseases,  ADHD, illnesses like ME to Crohns, or mental health and brain conditions.

James Sutliff, 37, from Leicester, has Dystonia, a medical term for a range of movement disorders that cause muscle spasms and contractions.  He struggles to speak and he has slow movement in his hand. James who had a huge social media following has been trolled over his disability. 

We also hear from Ian Fenn. Hemade the national headlines recently when he was asked to leave a London Sainsburys for having a cat on his shoulder. His disability cat Sophie,  helps Ian with his anxiety. 

Ian Fenn with Sophie Credit: Ian Fenn

Mother-of-three Rowan, in Scotland suffered for years with chronic pain before a formal diagnosis, after 5 years. Many people have never heard of Axial Spa or ‘AS’ but one in 200 UK adults suffer from it; it is as common as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease.

On social media I get a lot more love than hate. To have no name for the condition at the start was hard mentally hard.” James Sutliff, Hambo Foundation

Disabled charities say people living with invisible disabilities are more likely to end up having a mental health condition.

“It's that day after day grind of having to prove yourself, of not being believed or being judged that can really, you know, break people down.” James Taylor, Scope

There has been an apparent upsurge in adults, including high profile women like former Love Islander Olivia Attwood, getting diagnosed with ADHD. 

“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a terrible name because we don't have a deficit of attention. It's a problem of control of that attention. Hyperactivity isn't a requirement.” Henry Shelford, ADHD UK

Helpful Websites:

MindScope      Hidden Disabilities Lanyard SchemeCitizens AdviceThe ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity CharityADHD UKThe Brain CharityPersonal Independence PaymentsNational Axial Spondyloarthritis Society

Hidden Disabilities: The True Cost? is on ITV on Thursday at 8:30pm