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This week is Invisible Disabilities Week (IDW) which aims to bring awareness and education about disabilities and illnesses which cannot be seen, and are therefore often overlooked or dismissed. In 2019, IDW is being held between October 13 to 19 with the goal of bringing support to those who suffer from invisible disabilities, and enabling people to share their stories to shine a light on the challenges and triumphs of people with such disabilities.

Organized by the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA), IDW is in its 5th year, having been founded in 2014. Invisible disabilities are hugely wide-ranging, from MS, to a sufferer of diabetic neuropathy, or ME, but all have key things in common – the feeling of being alone, or of friends not understanding that each day can be a challenge, or of needing to explain why they might need help in certain areas. IDA exists to help raise awareness of the challenges of invisible disabilities.

For Invisible Disabilities Week, the IDA encourages everyone to get involved using social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and asks people to invite friends, family, medical teams, and social groups to talk about hidden disabilities and raise as much awareness as possible.

Suggested ideas are to add Facebook frames or badges to your profile picture, or replace your photo with the IDW logo, to share your story on social media, to ‘turn the internet blue’ by posting a picture of yourself wearing IDA merchandise like a wristband, lapel pin or t-shirt.

If you have a blog about your invisible disability, or create artwork or music inspired by it, IDA are encouraging you to share your awareness endeavors this week. Alternatively users can post IDA content and videos on social media to help to spread the message around the world.

Today, the focus will be on being positive with ‘Thankful Thursday’, where people will be asked to post about what they are grateful for, be it something big or small, such as a vacation, a supportive partner, the understanding of friends or just getting out of bed.

The IDA are also using the week as a chance to help people link together for ongoing support by becoming part of the Invisible Disabilities Community on Inspire which has over 100 national patient organization partners like IDA, and has over 1.5 million members.