What are Invisible Disabilities?
Eureka Outdoor Camp is unique in B.C. Our program is specifically for children and adolescents with INVISIBLE DISABILITIES. This is a term commonly used to describe a range of disorders that are neurologically based and not readily apparent. Generally, the disabilities do not affect the child’s intelligence. In fact, some children with invisible disabilities are also gifted further complicating the diagnosis.
Invisible Disabilities most often observed at Eureka Outdoor Camp are:
- Mild autism/Asperger syndrome
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Learning Disabilities
- Tourette Syndrome
Most of the disabilities are present from birth, but can be caused by other trauma such as head injury.
Up to 10% of the school population is affected by one, or a combination of the disabilities listed. Three times as many boys as girls are diagnosed. The most common combination of disabilities we see an Eureka Outdoor Camp are mild autism/ADD, ADD / ADHD, OCD. Other combinations are not unusual. Unfortunately medications to support the symptoms of ADHD can sometimes make the symptoms of a combined disability worse, particularly Tourette Syndrome.
Generally, a child with any or a combination of invisible disabilities has difficulty in all aspects of life. Common symptoms include:
- Restlessness – Can’t sit still, inattentive
- Difficulty with impulse control
- Difficulty in following instructions/Rules
- Difficulty taking in, remembering or expressing information
- Loses track of time and belongings
- Speech difficulties
- Dyslexia – Mixing up letters and words
- Dyscalculia – Mixing up numbers
- Dysgraphia – Difficulty writing legibly
- Facial or body tics
- Obsessive Behaviour, unable to complete tasks
- Difficulty with social cues – Stand too close, Talk too loud
- Inappropriate emotional outbursts
As you can imagine, children trying to deal with the range of disabilities we are describing, spend most of their days simply trying to cope. Usually, school is not a good experience, friendships are few and far between. Children are intimidated by social activities or are not able to participate effectively. Lonely and often rejected by their peers, children with invisible disabilities are more likely than average to turn to inappropriate behaviours and are at risk for alcohol or drug dependence, failure to complete high school and an inability to hold jobs and plan for a successful future.