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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at the Cowan-Blakley Memorial Library

This guide provides diversity resources and services to students, faculty, and library staff.

UD Resources on Accessibility

Hidden or Invisible Disabilities

What are invisible disabilities?

Invisible disability, or hidden disability, is an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of hidden disabilities or challenges. Nearly one in two people in the U.S. has a chronic medical condition of one kind or another, but most of these people are not considered to be disabled, as their medical conditions do not impair their normal everyday activities. These people do not use an assistive device and most look and act perfectly healthy. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) an individual with a disability is a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. Generally seeing a person in a wheelchair, wearing a hearing aid, or carrying a white cane tells us a person may be disabled. But what about invisible disabilities that make daily living a bit more difficult for many people worldwide Invisible disabilities can include chronic illnesses such as renal failure, diabetes, asthma, and sleep disorders if those diseases significantly impair normal activities of daily living. For example, there are people with visual or auditory impairments who do not wear hearing aids or eyeglasses so they may not seem to be obviously impaired. Those with joint conditions or problems who suffer chronic pain may not use any type of mobility aids on good days, or ever. Another example is Fibromyalgia which is now understood to be the most common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Many people living with a hidden physical disability or mental challenge are still able to be active in their hobbies, work, and be active in sports. On the other hand, some struggle just to get through their day at work and some cannot work at all.

Online Resources

Selected Readings

Keywords for Disability Studies

Online Access - Credo Reference

Understanding Deaf Culture

Online Access - EBSCO eBook Collection

The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language

REF HV 2475 .G35 2005

DISC in Media Cabinet

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders: Frequently Asked Questions

Online Access - EBSCO eBook Collection

Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy

HV 1624 .K4 L37

Comprehensive Guide to Autism

Online Access - SpringerLink

American Sign Language the Easy Way

Online Access - EBSCO eBook Collection

Working with the ADA: Understanding the Employment Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Online Access - EBSCO eBook Collection

The American Sign Language Handshape Dictionary

Online Access - EBSCO eBook Collection

Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities and the Inclusive Future of Libraries

Online Access - EBSCO eBook Collection

Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Diagnosis, Development, Neurobiology, and Behavior

RJ 506.A9 H26 2005

v.1 & v.2

Disability in Higher Education

LC 4813 .E83 2017

Disability as Diversity in Higher Education

LC 4818.38 .D55 2017

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century

HV 1552.3 .D57 2020

We're Not Broken

RC 553 .A88 G364 2021

Be Opened!

BX 2373 .D42 P67 2021

Selected Films on Demand Videos

Films On Demand: Education Video Collection This link opens in a new window

Education Films on Demand addresses basics such as effective teaching methods and classroom management as well as best practices for use of technology, application of standards, overcoming the challenges of special needs students, understanding legal and ethical issues, English as a second language, and more. Access the videos by logging in with your UD network ID and password. 

  • American Sign Language: Level 1 - Greetings, the Alphabet...
  • American Sign Language: Level 1 - Numbers, Money...
  • An Introductory Course in American Sign Language
  • Understanding Learning Disabilities
  • Inside Dyslexia
  • Assistive Technology: Powerful Solutions for Success