The problem with hidden disability
For people with a hidden disability, it can be really hard to show other passengers that we need extra help when we’re travelling.
I live in London and use the bus and tube to get around all the time and, because I have a learning disability and eye condition, I normally get support from transport staff when I’m travelling. I’m always out and about so I’m really happy I get this support, but it can be a real challenge to cope on my own when this isn’t possible and sometimes the public aren’t very helpful.
The thing with my disability is that it’s not very obvious. People could look at me and never realise I have a disability, and that can make it really hard when I need support.
I don’t really have a problem whenever I’m travelling with transport staff who support me because it’s clear that I need a priority seat and people are normally very quick to help. But when I’m on my own I find I have to explain myself to other passengers about why I need a seat. I find this really annoying – I shouldn’t have to explain myself in lots of detail – and often people aren’t very willing to help me.
So when you’re next on the tube or bus, please remember that there may be people around you with a hidden disability. It can be really helpful if people try to avoid the priority seat that might be so important to someone else. I don’t want to have to keep justifying my need, but I do need it and I wish people would remember that.