18th Nov 2015
Visibly Abled, Invisibly Disabled
Amy Kate Feltham lives with a chronic respiratory condition and is asking people to think before they complain about someone who doesn’t have an obvious disability, using disabled facilities.
The 22-year-old from Twickenham in London dreads using public transport as she’s been unfairly challenged by members of the public for sitting in priority seats.
‘I understand that I look young and healthy, and people cannot see that I struggle to breathe,’ Amy explains.
‘Because of my medical conditions, I have a Blue Badge, which is great for parking. However, I can’t use that on trains or buses.
‘I’ve been told off for not giving up my seat for an older person on the bus.
‘I think that when people attack invisibly disabled people they do this for a good reason. I believe they are trying to protect resources for disabled people. It's unfortunate that their way of doing this is misguided.'
With Fixers, Amy has helped to produce badges, which display a simple message – ‘visibly abled, invisibly disabled’.
She plans to distribute them through disability organisations to help others with hidden illnesses alert people to their conditions.
‘The badges are brilliant. I'm really pleased with them,’ Amy says.
‘I wanted to find a way to give others a visible clue that I am not misusing resources or being rude, without having to explain my condition to strangers.’
To enlarge the Fixers badge and backing card, click on the image below.
Amy has gained support for her campaign from Great Ormond Street Hospital and Common Room, a consultancy that works with young people who use health and social care services. Both have agreed to distribute her badges.
She’s also hopeful that people will show their support on Twitter via @see_disability.
‘So far, feedback about the project has been very positive,’ she adds.
‘I want to find funding to produce more badges as they’re flying off the shelves.
‘Ideally, I’d like disabled people to know how to get hold of them and non-disabled people to understand what they mean.
‘Before asking someone to give up their seat, take a moment to consider that perhaps that person has a hidden illness.’
This Fixers project is supported by Make My Day Better.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.