Four in 10 adults with a hidden disability say they’ve been verbally abused
Four in 10 adults with a hidden disability have been verbally abused as a direct result of their condition, a study has revealed.
Researchers who polled 2,000 adults found 41 per cent have a disability with no physical signs – including learning difficulties, hearing or visual impairments or mental health conditions.
But a quarter of those with blue badges have been called out for parking in a disabled space because they don’t “look disabled”.
And 22 per cent have been asked to prove they are really disabled, while 42 per cent have felt judged due to their condition.
The research was commissioned by Heathrow Express, which has joined the Hidden Disabilities sunflower scheme.
To show what life’s like for those with these conditions the transfer service has created a video featuring the unique insights of three individuals with hidden disabilities.
Steven Garside, of Heathrow Express, said: “Living with these conditions makes everyday activities especially hard and affect people in different ways.
“But because hidden disabilities aren’t visible, it’s difficult for others to recognise or acknowledge the challenges faced by those affected.
“Wearing the Sunflower discreetly indicates to others that those with a hidden disability may need additional support, help or a little more time.”
The study also found around three in 10 adults don’t tend to consider the potential needs of other members of the public when going about their day-to-day lives.
And 23 per cent don’t always take into account that others may not find some tasks as easy as they might. Further to this, almost a fifth of everyone polled admitted they weren’t familiar with the term ‘hidden disability.’
With this in mind, 77 per cent think more needs to be done to make the wider public more aware.
Although 54 per cent do think public understanding of hidden disabilities has improved in recent years.
But one area which may need particular attention is public services where 72 per cent believe they should do more to support people with a hidden disability.
In fact, the Heathrow Express study carried out through OnePoll, found more than a third of those with a hidden disability don’t consider trains to be an accessible method of transport.
As a result, 52 per cent with a hidden condition said they’d be interested in utilising an initiative such as the sunflower scheme.
They also revealed some of the biggest obstacles they face including speaking to strangers (17 per cent), dealing with confrontation (21 per cent) and having to process lots of information at once (16 per cent).
Steven Garside added: “We passionately agree public services need to do everything in their power to make their services as accessible as possible.
“And this is why we’ve joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme – our employees have been trained to assist those customers who may need added assistance such as those with hidden disabilities.”