New Documentary on “Hidden” Dis/Ability

htp What Sort of People

There is a new documentary out by and about people with traumatic brain injuries called Brain Injury Dialogues. From what I have seen, it seems like a good teaching tool for expanding the discourse surrounding ability. The documentary tells the story of several people with TBIs as well as the types of support available and coping skill development they need, while also highlighting how certain aspects of their lives/thinking are impaired in ways that other people excuse, minimize, or otherwise fail to recognize. It also points out how the divides between hidden and visible may be keeping people with TBIs from receiving needed services and developing needed skills and support networks to thrive. It also discusses the import of disability rights activism for shifting the way differently-abled people see and advocate for themselves and how people with TBIs fight into this activism community.

For me, the documentary represents an important entry point for talking about what it means to move from able-bodied to differently-abled and to understanding the nuances of hidden disabilites which are assumed to be easier to cope with because of an ability to access able-bodied privilege but in fact are hard in a different way because the lack of recognition or the willingness to ascribe personality or social problems rather than physical and mental issues to people with hidden disabilities impedes them in similarly disabling ways. It also sheds light on a growing population in the differently-abled community that remains largely underserved by both mental health services and disability services, especially on college campuses in the U.S.

The Documentary is on sale now for $25 and can be bought here.

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5 thoughts on “New Documentary on “Hidden” Dis/Ability

  1. A great highlight of the stigma people with invisible disabilities face. That chart really touches on all of it for sure. Fortunately I haven’t faced much of that, having invisible disabilities, but knowing this ignorance is out there definitely deters me from disclosing my disability or expressing difficulty at times.

    “Are you sure you have/Do you really need that?” was especially striking because you pointed out that even those who use visible markers of disability are subject to scrutiny, doubt and ignorance.

  2. Hidden disabilities can give some control to a person. The choise to disclose your defecits and when. If a person doesn’t want to believe
    you that’s there problem. People with disabilities must continue to believe in one self and not be bothered by what others think. Keep the faith in yourself and go foward.

    • I don’t know that I would characterize being differently-abled as a deficit per se nor do I think it is as simply as “if they don’t believe you who needs them”. After all, if there is something you cannot do the way an able bodied person can the choice is often to be ridiculed and maintain able body privilege or disclose and be ridiculed because they think you are making it up or they have the right to define ability and which point you lose both identity and able bodied privilege. There are a lot of privileges that come with hidden disabilities and a lot of oppression as well. When it comes to hidden disabilities, I think the overall point is to recognize that oppressions are different and distinct, some people are more privileged than others in certain circumstances within an oppressed group, and that it is not about oppression olympics or personal choice (ie choose to ignore the bigot and bigotry will go away).

  3. I am a person with hidden disabilities. I even have a handicap plaque and catch hell from people thinking I’m using mom’s or g-ma’s. We are unique, a little different from your so-called normal person. We think outside the box! Most of us have a wonderful sense of humor, can see things in a different light and can educate others like us in many different way! Don’t under estimate us!

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