Invisible Disabilities18th October 2023
This year Invisible Disabilities Week takes place 15th – 21st October, and celebrates 10 years since it was founded by the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). The aim is to shine a spotlight on non-visible disabilities, as the more we understand the more we can help to improve the lives of people experiencing them. Ultimately this week is about encouraging inclusivity, acceptance and understanding that everyone is different, and that every disability affects people differently.
What is an invisible disability
This can also be referred to as a non-visible or hidden disability as it’s a disability that’s not immediately apparent. These can be temporary, situational, or permanent. Invisible disabilities affect children and adults, and can be neurological or cognitive, as well as physical, visual, auditory and including sensory and processing difficulties. They also include respiratory, rare diseases and chronic conditions.
Examples include Alzheimer’s, Anxiety, Asthma, Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), Crohn’s Disease, Diabetes, Endometriosis, Epilepsy, Long Covid, Lupus, Migraine, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s but this list is by no means exhaustive.
What you can do this week (and every week):
1. The Sunflower Lanyard
There are a lot of ways to shine a spotlight on Invisible Disabilities, and that includes learning about the sunflower lanyard. Without a visual cue, it can be difficult for others to identify, acknowledge, or understand the daily barriers faced by people living with an invisible disability, so the idea of the Sunflower Sign was born in 2016 at Gatwick Airport in England. A sunflower was chosen as it is clearly visible from a distance as well as being distinctive, joyful, and dynamic. The sunflower is now an internationally recognised symbol that represents hidden disabilities; simply by wearing the Sunflower lanyard, you’re voluntarily letting everyone know that you might need extra help, understanding, or just more time. This may be in crowded spaces, shops, at university, airports etc.
The Hidden Disabilities website enables you to buy a lanyard, has more information about the Sunflower sign and insight into various disabilities that may not be so well known to us, like PoTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome) where a person's heart rate increases significantly when they stand up, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, fainting, and fatigue.
2. Understand what discrimination is, and what it sounds like
As racism and sexism are terms used to describe discrimination, so too disablism and ableism are words that are used to describe disability discrimination and prejudice.
Disablism - Disablism is discrimination or prejudice against disabled people.
Ableism - Ableism is discrimination in favour of non-disabled people.
Whilst both describe disability discrimination the emphasis is different and whilst they can be used interchangeably it’s important to know the difference so you can emphasise which aspect of discrimination you’re highlighting.
Discrimination can take many forms. Here are some examples:
- Having only steps instead of a ramp to access a shop
- Asking someone why they are using a disabled parking spot, or assuming a person is faking or exaggerating an invisible condition or disability
- Making assumptions about what a disabled person can or cannot do
- Viewing a disabled person as an inspiration for doing typical things like having a career, or expecting them to inspire others with their courage. In fiction endowing a disabled character with a ‘special gift’ is a device which is generally unhelpful in terms of aiding people’s real understanding of disability issues
- Using language like ‘Suffers from OCD’ or ‘Confined to a wheelchair’ instead of ‘has OCD’, ‘uses a wheelchair’
3. Avoid generalising disabilities
The reality is that two people with the same disability may have very different experiences. For instance, two colleagues who both have chronic migraines might have different triggers or discomforts. One of those colleagues might wear sunglasses in the office out of necessity due to their sensitivity to light, the other may not. Every person is impacted in radically different ways and consequently requires different and individual support.
The unpredictability and varying symptoms of invisible conditions may also mean that no two days are the same. Some invisible disabilities are permanent and some are temporary and all age groups are affected, but by generalising and making assumptions an individual may feel truly invisible and not heard.
4. Talk, listen and learn
Globally 1 in 6 people live with a disability. And of those, it is estimated that up to 80% are living with a non-visible disability. That is over 1 billion people worldwide.
Aspects of the daily life and behaviours of people with invisible illness symptoms may be hard for others to truly understand if they haven’t lived with them or really “seen” them, so it is important to listen and to speak out. Sharing information and listening to someone’s lived experience allows us to understand the challenges they have to manage on a daily basis. It can break down unhealthy stereotypes, and help people feel valued if they think they’re not represented in society.
Listen with an open mind and without judgement. When you approach this conversation from a place of curiosity and a wanting-to-understand sensibility it creates a safe environment to talk to others, whether they be friends or colleagues. Actively listen, but also don’t hesitate to ask where you can find more information. Ask whether you can offer practical help, for example someone in chronic pain may value things like being driven to the doctor or picking up groceries.
Books can of course be enormously helpful in educating ourselves on different disabilities, but they can also show the lived experiences of people with hidden disabilities, written by people uniquely qualified to tell their stories. Whilst there have been massive strides to make books more diverse and give disabled characters agency in their own stories more can be done to let disabled people tell their stories without judgement and stigma.
Below we have chosen books for older readers that feature protagonists living with Epilepsy, OCD, Chronic Fatigue, Stuttering and caring for someone with Dementia amongst others.
Our selection for Adults includes fiction and memoirs highlighting invisible disabilities such as Arthritis, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Tourette’s, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease as well as more general books on the lived experience of those with a disability, with the aim to act as a clarion call for greater visibility of the disabled experience.
Claudia, Content Selection Team
Books For Older Readers:
The Stickleback Catchers
Mimi adores her wild, fun, full-of-life gran. Then Gran starts forgetting things. Suddenly there are cracks appearing all around their home - and a mysterious black crow - both of which only Mimi seems able to see. Mimi is determined to solve the mystery. Luckily she has new friends to help: Titch and Nusrat. Together, they're the Stickleback Catchers: solvers of puzzles and seekers of adventure. Down by the river, where the gang meet and the silvery sticklebacks swim, they discover a mysterious stone, speckled with stars. But this is no ordinary stone: it's the doorway to another world, a world of talking crows and secrets, magical constellations and memories - and maybe, just maybe, Mimi's chance to bring back Gran forever...More Details
Looking at the stars
What if the only thing you had left were the stories in your head?Amina's homeland has been ravaged by war, and her family is devastated . . . The women of the family - Amina, her two sisters and their mother - have no choice but to leave their home town, along with thousands of others, and head for a refugee camp. But there are even more challenges ahead . . .More Details
Girl in the window
See the world from another unique perspective in the thrilling new novel from the author of I Have No Secrets (a World Book Day title for 2018). Nothing ever happens on Kasia's street. And Kasia would know, because her illness makes her spend days stuck at home, watching the world from her bedroom window. So when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she's not sure whether she can believe her own eyes ... There was a girl in the window opposite - did she see something too? But when Kasia goes to find her she is told the most shocking thing of all. There is no girl. An eye-opening and compulsive page-turner for readers aged 12 and up. Penny Joelson began working with disabled people when she was a teenager, which gave her the inspiration and insight for this book. As well as writing compulsive thrillers for teen readers she also teaches creative writing. Find Penny on Twitter: @pennyjoelsonMore Details
Sing if you can't dance
An entirely original and much needed authentic perspective from a teenager coming to terms with her disability as she's coming of age. Ven has her future all planned out. Her dance group is going places and so is she . . . Then she collapses. On stage. In hospital, Ven discovers that she has a medical condition - one that threatens to ruin everything. No more dancing . . . walking is challenging enough. But she doesn't want your pity. Ven is determined to have a big, exciting life. Sure, her future might be different, but it's not over . . . Because if you can't dance, you can always sing!Refreshing, uplifting and original, Sing if you Can't Dance is the unforgettable story of a teenager living life on her own terms.More Details
The funniest boy in the world
'Fun, unstuffy and wise' Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week "It will have your children in stitches!" BBC Radio Manchester 'Very funny, very touching, very truthful - a total delight to read.' Jacqueline Wilson on THE BOY WHO MADE EVERYONE LAUGH 'Amazing' Noel Fielding The laugh-out-loud, against-all-odds triumph of a sequel to one of the bestselling children's debuts of 2021 SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 COSTA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD SELECTED FOR THE 2022 READ FOR EMPATHY COLLECTION Billy Plimpton took to the stage and captivated the crowd at the triumphant ending to THE BOY WHO MADE EVERYONE LAUGH, and in the sequel, he's going to go viral. Celebrity comedian Leo Leggett takes Billy under his wing, as his new sidekick: when Leo tweets a clip of his stand-up act, Billy suddenly becomes the most famous boy in the country. At first, this is GREAT - all the kids at school think he's cool and he gets to appear on his favourite morning TV show. But Leo's motives turn out to be shady and Billy must turn the tables in a very public way... The idea for this story came from Helen Rutter's son, who has a stammer: she wanted to write the book that he would love to read, starring a child like him. packed with brilliant jokes and one-liners to make kids roar with laughter a book to encourage empathy and kindness in young readers Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Lisa Thompson and Jenny Pearson. Praise for The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh 'This incredible debut tugs at your heartstrings and makes you laugh out loud in equal measure. I guarantee you'll be cheering along in the final pages!' Lisa Thompson 'It's Wonder with one-liners.' Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher 'As warm and wise as it is funny.' Shappi Khorsandi 'A laugh out loud story, the like of which I've never read before.' Kerry Godliman 'This book is a great way of showing children how to be confident and winners by having a sense of humour and making others laugh.' Baroness Floella Benjamin 'This book is brilliant. It is funny, wise, kind and exciting.' Marcus Brigstocke 'So funny and joyful.' Rachel ParrisMore Details
When I see blue
A Read for Empathy Collection Choice, chosen by EmpathyLabNew town, new school, but the bully is in Ben's head ... There are 4 things you should know about Ben: 1. He's 12 years old 2. He's the new kid at school3. His special number is 44. He has a bully in his brainSometimes Ben's brain makes him count to 4 to prevent bad things happening. Sometimes it makes him tap or blink in 4s. Mostly it makes the smallest things feel impossible. And with a new school, a moody big brother, an absent dad and a mum battling her own demons, Ben feels more out of control than ever. But then he meets April, and with his new friend, Ben might finally figure out how to stand up to the bully in his brain, once and for all. An authentic and affecting #ownvoices story about living life with OCD, from the inspiring author and mental health activist, Lily Bailey. Perfect for readers of A Kind of Spark and Wonder. ***WINNER of the LEWISHAM BOOK AWARD******WINNER of the READING RAMPAGE AWARD******WINNER OF THE COVENTRY INSPIRATION BOOK AWARDS***'With characters you will take to your heart and never want to leave, this is a heart-warming and joyous read about the importance of empathy and understanding.' The Scotsman'This book deserves to sit alongside Wonder as a modern classic.' Read and Reviewed blog'What Wonder does for people with physical deformity - When I see Blue will, without doubt, do for those with OCD ... this is a story of hope.' Sue Chambers, Waterstones booksellerMore Details
Books For Adults:
A WATERSTONES NATURE AND TRAVEL BEST BOOK OF 2023LONGLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT NATURE WRITING PRIZE 2023'Modern, revealing and restorative, a coastal treasure' Amy Liptrot'Like its talismanic title, Huband's voice is distinct and singular. A gorgeous reckoning with the sea, islands and mythology' SinÃ©ad Gleeson'A wild melding of body and landscape. A deep, immersive, storm-tossed read' Helen Jukes'As vital and complex as the oceans themseleves' Joanna PocockA powerful journey of sea and self, trial and hope on the islands of ShetlandWhen a seed falls from a vine in the tropics and is carried by ocean currents across the Atlantic to the shores of Western Europe - it is known as a sea bean. It is still considered lucky to find a sea bean on the shore, they have been used as magical charms for more than a thousand years. Sally's search for a sea bean begins not long after she moves to the windswept archipelago of Shetland. When pregnancy triggers a chronic illness and forces her to slow down, Sally takes to the beaches. There she discovers treasure freighted with story and curiosities that connect her to the world. The wild shores of Shetland offer glimpses of orcas swimming through the ocean at dusk, the chance to release a tiny storm petrel into the dark of the night and a path of hope. This beachcombing path takes her from the Faroese archipelago to the Orkney islands, and the Dutch island of Texel. It opens a world of ancient myths, fragile ecology, and deep human history. It brings her to herself again. Sea Bean is a message in a bottle. An interconnection of our oceans, communities and ourselves, and an invitation to feel belonging when we are adrift.More Details
The tragicomic novel of the summer, a 'dark and insane gem' from the author of the critically acclaimed TikTok sensation Bunny 'A dazzling wild ride of a novel - daring, fresh, entertaining, and magical.' - George Saunders 'All's Well is an utterly delicious novel of pain and vitality, Shakespeare and the uncanny.' - Lauren Groff Miranda Fitch's life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she's on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers. That's when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda's past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what's coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that's kept her from the spotlight is made known. With prose Margaret Atwood has described as 'no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged... genius', Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All's Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain. Longlisted for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award.More Details
Some of us just fall : on nature and not getting better
'It raises the standard of nature writing. This is both radical manifesto and activism in book form'Sally Huband, author of Sea Bean'Defiant and dazzling'Freya Bromley, author of The Tidal Year'Essential reading'Jessica J. Lee, author of Turning'Long before I knew I was sick, I knew I was breakable . . .'After years of unexplained health problems, Polly Atkin's perception of her body was rendered fluid and disjointed. When she was finally diagnosed with two chronic conditions in her thirties, she began to piece together what had been happening to her - all the misdiagnoses, the fractures, the dislocations, the bone-crushing exhaustion, the not being believed. Some of Us Just Fall combines memoir, pathography and nature writing to trace a fascinating journey through illness, a journey which led Polly to her current home in the Lake District, where outdoor swimming is purported to cure all, and where every day she turns to the natural world to help tame her illness. Polly delves into the history of her two genetic conditions, uncovering how these illnesses were managed (or not) in times gone by and exploring how best to plan for her own future. From medical misogyny and gaslighting, to the illusion of 'the nature cure', this essential, beautiful and deeply personal book examines how we deal with bodies that diverge from the norm, and why this urgently needs to change. This is not a book about getting better. This is a book about living better with illness.More Details
Mean baby : a memoir of growing up
**THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER **'Funny and frank, a chance to spend time with a brave and big-hearted woman who's grown up to be not so mean, after all' JENNIFER LARUE, WASHINGTON POST'Grabs you by the collar and says listen to all that I have to say: about love, pain, motherhood, illness, celebrity and the tidal ferocity that pours through all our lives. Read it and be caught in the voice of one of our luminous stars' ESME WEIJUN WANGThe first story Selma Blair Beitner ever heard about herself is that she was a mean, mean baby. Although Selma went on to become a celebrated Hollywood actress and model, she could never quite shake the periods of darkness that overtook her, the certainty that there was a great mystery at the heart of her life. Over the course of this beautiful and, at times, shocking memoir, Selma lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is violence, love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood and, finally, the simultaneous devastation and surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. 'A fascinating exploration about the power of prophecy, of labels, and of one woman's determination to defy them all. Blair is a rebel, an artist, and it turns out: a writer' GLENNON DOYLE'I laughed out loud more than I cried' FRANCES RYAN, GUARDIANMore Details
A darkly comic and moving reflection on what it means to be human in a world where nothing is certain, from the award-winning Oxford professor'The best book about multiple sclerosis'THE TIMES'An outstanding feat'SUNDAY TIMESWe all have trapdoors in our lives. Sometimes we jump off just in time ... But sometimes we are unlucky. My own trapdoor was hidden in the consulting room of an Oxford neurologist. When the trapdoor opened for Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, he plummeted into a world of MRI scans, a disobedient body and the crushing unpredictability of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. But, like Alice tumbling into Wonderland, his fall did something else. It took him deep into his own mind: his hopes, his fears, his loves and losses, and the books that would sustain, inform and nourish him as his life began to transform in ways he could never have imagined. From Kafka to Barbellion, this is a literary map of the journey from the kingdom of the well to the land of the sick, and forwards into a hopeful future. It's an ode to great writing, to storytelling, to science and to the power of the imagination.More Details
Poor little sick girls : a love letter to unacceptable women
'Incredible insight with a transgressive, witty, spirit.' COURTNEY LOVE'The most sensational read of 2022!' GEMMA COLLINS'A breath of fresh air... I want so many people to read this!' TRAVIS ALABANZA'Visionary' VIV ALBERTINEA STYLIST MUST-READ FOR 2022Wellness is oppressive, self-love is a trap, hustling is a health risk and it's all the patriarchy's fault. Poor Little Sick Girls is THE book for femmes who are online and want more from activism and life. Ione Gamble never imagined that entering adulthood would mean being diagnosed with an incurable illness. Watching identity politics become social media fodder from the confines of her sickbed Ione began to pick apart our obsession with self-care, personal branding, productivity and #LivingYourBestLife. Using her experience with disability to cast a fresh gaze on the particularly peculiar cultural moment in which young women find themselves, Poor Little Sick Girls explores the pressures faced - as well as the power of existing as - a chronically ill, overweight, and unacceptable woman in our current era of empowerment. Founder of Polyester zine and a host of The Polyester Podcast, Ione has been named one of fifteen coolest young Londoners by The Evening Standard, and a 2019 New Debutante in Tatler Magazine. The perfect gift for fans of Trick Mirror, Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Hood Feminism.More Details
Somebody I used to know
_______________A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICKTHE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERA BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEKSELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMESSELECTED AS A SUMMER READ BY THE SUNDAY TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE TIMES AND THE MAIL ON SUNDAY_______________'Anyone who knows a person living with dementia should read this book' - The Times'Revelatory' - Guardian'A miracle' - Telegraph'Remarkable' - Daily Mail'A landmark book' - Financial Times_______________How do you build a life when all that you know is changing?How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who mean the most to you?A phenomenal memoir, Somebody I Used to Know is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy Mitchell once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.More Details
My nonidentical twin
Hippie, Evie Meg - This Trippy
'My life was changing and I didn't like it. Everything was so out of my control, even my own body...'Happy-go-lucky Evie Meg was an award-winning teenage gymnast who dreamed of becoming a teaching assistant. But when she developed a hiccup tic that gave way to increasingly severe health problems the doctors couldn't solve, could the power of an online community stop her from disappearing into the darkness?My Nonidentical Twin is a heartbreakingly inspirational story about finding friendship in unlikely places, what it truly means to be neurodivergent, and how hope can spring from even the bleakest of times. Why readers love Evie Meg... 'I could not put this book down''One of the most powerful books I have ever read''Well worth reading through the tears''It deserves more than 5 stars''Love love love'More Details
Get a life, Chloe Brown
'I loved every page' Helen Hoang, USA Today bestselling author of The Kiss Quotient'Smart, funny, and sexy' Meg Cabot, author of No Judgments and the Princess Diaries seriesTalia Hibbert delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who's tired of being 'boring' and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbour to help her get a life - perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory and Helen Hoang!Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan and a list. After almost - but not quite - dying, she's come up with a list of directives to help her 'Get a Life': - Enjoy a drunken night out - Ride a motorbike - Go camping - Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex - Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage - And . . . do something badBut it's not easy being bad, even when you've written out step-by-step guidelines. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job: Redford 'Red' Morgan. With tattoos and a motorbike, Red is the perfect helper in her mission to rebel, but as they spend more time together, Chloe realises there's much more to him than his tough exterior implies. Soon she's left wanting more from him than she ever expected . . . maybe there's more to life than her list ever imagined?***Why readers love Get A Life, Chloe Brown'Funny, sexy and intensely romantic' Lucy Parker, author of The Austen Playbook'Clever, sweet, sexy and brilliant' Carrie Ann Ryan, New York Times bestselling author'So so so so good' Andie J. Christopher, USA Today bestselling author of Not the Girl You Marry'A pure exuberant delight. I loved this book' KJ Charles, author of Proper English'[An] awesome book, so full of heart and warmth and feels!' Charlotte Stein, author of Never Sweeter'Hilarious, heartfelt and hot' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)'If you liked Jasmine Guillroy's The Proposal, you'll love Talia Hibbert's Get A Life, Chloe Brown' Marie ClaireMore Details
'A creeping sense of dread builds to a shocking revelation in this assured mystery novel' Brian McGilloway'A cat-and-mouse psychological thriller' Sunday IndependentCAROLINE HAS A GOOD LIFE - a job she likes as a journalist at the local paper, and a daughter she'd do anything for. As the festive season begins, she's looking ahead, excited about spending quality time with her loved ones over the holidays. Until, when gift-shopping, she spots a frighteningly familiar figure in the crowd - a man she hasn't laid eyes onin more than twenty years. Suddenly she is jolted back to the secret past she hoped she'd put behind her forever. And this man does not want to stay forgotten. As Christmas nudges closer, she feels him closing in and decides to come up with a plan to keep him away from her family. But just how far will one woman go to protect a good life? And how far will one man go to destroy it?More Details
Lucky man : a memoir
Fox, Michael J.
In September 1998, Michael J. Fox stunned the world by announcing that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease - in fact, he had been secretly fighting it for seven years. In this candid book, with his trademark ironic sensibility and sense of the absurd, he tells his life story - from his childhood in western Canada to his meteoric rise in film and television and, most importantly, the years in which - with the unswerving support of his wife, family and friends - he has dealt with his illness. He talks about what Parkinson's has given him: the chance to appreciate a wonderful life and career, and the opportunity to help search for a cure and spread public awareness of the disease. He feels as if he is a very lucky man indeed.More Details
See me rolling : on disability, equality & ten-point turns
'The world was sadly not my lobster, it was a skimpy crayfish from a petrol station sandwich and it was on the turn.'In this heartfelt, thought-provoking and often hilarious book, Lottie Jackson reflects on her experiences of living with disability: from the pitfalls of going shopping on a mobility scooter, and the headache of defining oneself on a tick-box form, to a slapstick scuffle with the so-called 'easy-pull' tights aid, and the intense pleasure of finally swapping a hospital gown for a slinky dress. Lottie captivatingly expresses the raw vulnerabilities, injustices and untold joys of disability, as well as the bizarre everyday occurrences that able-bodied people usually don't experience. See Me Rolling is a playful, illuminating memoir, but it is also a clarion call for greater diversity and inclusion. Lottie powerfully explores the ways in which we undervalue and underrepresent disabled people in our society, and demonstrates how negative stigmas about 'abnormal' bodies seep into all aspects our lives, from travel, work and education, to fashion and social media. In this dazzling debut, Lottie reveals why we must strive for change and redefine what it means to be disabled in every facet of life. She has a voice that needs to be heard.More Details
Jones, Chloe Cooper
FINALIST FOR THE 2023 PULITZER PRIZE FOR MEMOIR'An exquisite exploration of disability, identity and the human capacity to do (and be) more than we've ever dreamed' Time'Gorgeously, vividly alive' New York Times'Challenges the unspoken social taboos about the disabled body, unpacking myths of beauty and our complicity in upholding those myths' Lit HubBorn with sacral agenesis, a visible congenital disability that affects her stature and gait, Chloe Cooper Jones had always found solace in what she thought of as 'the neutral room' - a dissociative space in her mind that offered her solace and self-protection, but also kept her isolated. When she became pregnant (disproving her doctor, who had assumed it impossible), something necessary in her started to crack, forcing her to reckon with her defensive positionality to the world and the people in it. This prompted an odyssey across time and space as Chloe - while at museums, operas, concerts and sporting events, and in the presence of awe-inspiring nature - reconsidered the consciousness-shifting power of beauty. A book of the year for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Time, BuzzFeed, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, Vulture, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and New York Public LibraryMore Details
Driving forwards : a journey of resilience to empowerment after life-changing injury
Morgan, Sophie L
'A book that'll change your perspective on life. You'll not be able to put it down.' Fearne Cotton'Inspirational, eye-opening and deeply moving.' Mail on Sunday'A searing read.' The Guardian As seen on 'Living Wild; How to Change your Life' a two-part prime-time series on Channel 4, Loose Women and The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C On the precipice of starting her adult life, aged eighteen, Sophie, a rebellious and incorrigible wild child, crashed her car and was instantly paralysed from the chest down. Rushed to hospital, everything she had dreamed for her life was instantly forgotten and her journey to rediscover herself and build a different life began. But being told she would never walk again would come to be the least of her concerns. Over the next eighteen years, as she strived to come to terms with the change in her body, her relationships were put to the test; she has had to learn to cope with the many unexpected and unpredictable setbacks of living with paralysis; she has had to overcome her own and other people's perceptions of disability and explore the limits of her abilities, all whilst searching for love, acceptance, meaning, identity, and purpose. Driving Forwards is a remarkable and powerful memoir, detailing Sophie's life-changing injury, her recovery, and her life since. Strikingly honest, her story is unusual and yet relatable, inspiring us to see how adversity can be channelled into opportunity and how ongoing resilience can ultimately lead to empowerment.More Details
Disability visibility : first-person stories from the twenty-first century
A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience: Disability Visibility brings together the voices of activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and everyday people whose daily lives are, in the words of playwright Neil Marcus, "an art . . . an ingenious way to live." A Vintage Books Original.
According to the last census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden--but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by contemporary disabled writers. There is Harriet McBryde Johnson's "Unspeakable Conversations," which describes her famous debate with Princeton philosopher Peter Singer over her own personhood. There is columnist s. e. smith's celebratory review of a work of theater by disabled performers. There are original pieces by up-and-coming authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma. There are blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, and testimonies to Congress. Taken together, this anthology gives a glimpse of the vast richness and complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own assumptions and understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and past with hope and love.
Although it is called Invisible Disabilities Week some bodies and organisations, like DPTAC (the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee) have adopted ‘non-visible disabilities’ as a standardised term as they believe ‘invisible’ disability to be unhelpful as it may imply that a disability may be invisible as it’s only in a person’s head. For the purpose of this Blog we have used Invisible Disability in keeping with Invisible Disabilities Week.