A man in Ohio was driving and was pulled over by law enforcement. When asked, the man handed over his license, but did not make eye contact with the officer. The officer became suspicious. The man began fumbling around in his car and the officer suspected that he might be intoxicated. The man was subsequently pulled from his car and handcuffed. Only later did the officers find out that the man has autism.
In Colorado, a woman parked her car in an accessible parking space and walked into a department store to shop. While in the store, the woman used an electric scooter to help her move around. When the woman returned to her car, a police car pulled behind her with lights flashing, blocking her exit. The woman explained that she had Multiple Sclerosis and even showed an MS ID card. The woman also noted that she had a valid handicap placard that allowed her to park in the accessible parking space, to which the officer replied, “You’re not disabled, I saw you walk into the store.”
These stories are REAL examples that affect people living with invisible disabilities every single day. We hear these stories often and we are actively engaging our culture with some major initiatives to overcome these encounters of prejudice and misunderstandings.
What if the man from Ohio or the woman from Colorado had an “approved designated symbol” on their driver’s license, something that validated their disability or chronic illness, oftentimes not readily visible, these interactions may have gone differently.
Under IDA’s National Disability ID Initiative, we are pursuing legislation in every state that would allow for voluntary disclosure on government IDs for anyone with any disability, illness or chronic pain. No personal information is stored on the ID to protect the privacy of the individual and their specific disability. The symbol provides recognition of a disability and the need for possible accommodations. Alaska is the first state to have passed this much needed legislation (http://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/akol/designator.htm) and IDA is currently working directly with legislators across the nation to advance this initiative. And we want your help!
Your support is critical to our efforts in providing solutions to these misunderstood situations for people living with invisible disabilities.
How can you help?
- Contact your legislators!! And have them get in touch with us so we can pass legislation in your state.
- Help support the funding needed for our lobbying efforts and creating the certification programming for law enforcement and first responders. We are initially seeking $50,000-$200,000 immediately to keep the NDID moving forward. Every little bit helps! Donate Here!
- Post or “like” one of our links on your Facebook page, Instagram story or Twitter feed.
- Tell your friends and family to get involved!
- Order some of our “Invisible No More” wristbands to share with others to help raise awareness.
Four ways you can make a donation with impact!
- Online with your credit card (one-time gift and/or monthly giving options): give.myida.org
- Make check payable to “IDA” and send to PO Box 4067, Parker, CO 80134
- Call us at 720-223-5553 and we will take your information over the phone
- Launch a fundraiser via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fund/InvisibleDisabilities/