Hidden impairments


South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust promoted disability awareness this month with its first conference focusing on hidden impairments.

The term ‘hidden impairments’ is used to describe a range of related hidden disabilities including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum conditions, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, Tourette’s and specific language impairments.

The conference, held at the Al-Hikmah Centre, Batley, covered subjects such as creative approaches to managing hidden impairments and what creativity means to people with hidden impairments, together with a number of seminars exploring different conditions in more depth. It also included a performance from a drama group from the Specialist Autism Service, an art and writing exhibition featuring the work of artists with hidden impairments and performance poetry from Tameside artist Stuart Vallantine.

Alex Feather, hidden impairments project coordinator, said, “Hidden impairments are more common than many people imagine. This educational conference – believed to be the first of its kind delivered by the NHS – helped to raise awareness of these conditions and promote positive messages to more than 150 people including our Trust staff, third sector partners, police, probation and housing services, service users and carers.

“As well as helping staff in their roles, we found that service users and carers with an interest in hidden impairments also found the day to be of value, with seminars and workshops being delivered or assisted by service users.”

Ann-Marie Slavin, an occupational therapist with the Trust who attended the event, said, “It provided a humbling representation of professional, service user and carer experiences: good practical examples with personal and positive themes from all the speakers. All too often we hear what people are not good at; this conference proved a refreshing attitude towards people’s strengths. The event was an excellent platform in which to celebrate what makes people unique”.

For more information about hidden impairments, contact Alex Feather on 01484 434634 or alex.feather@swyt.nhs.uk

Hidden impairments

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