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20 Powerful Ways How Teachers In Schools Can Help The Invisibly Disabled.

Not sure if you agree with this or not.

The influence of a teacher lasts for a lifetime. Maybe, even after the teacher's life.

But, I'm unsure if teachers are aware of these numbers which blew my mind.

The statistics of bullying in schools that still happen even today.

One out of every five (20.2%) students report being bullied in school.

Bullied students reported that bullying occurred in the following places: the hallway or stairwell at school (43%), inside the classroom (42%), in the cafeteria (27%), outside on school grounds (22%), online or by text (15%), in the bathroom or locker room (12%), and on the school bus (8%)

Remember, this is just the case for children who are visibly differently abled. You can see the child in a wheelchair or needing more help.

Now, I don't even have to get started about an invisibly disabled child at school.

Most of the teachers aren't aware of the invisible disabilities too! Not their fault either.

So here is a blog post to create awareness.

In this blog post, we will cover about

  1. What are invisible disabilities?

  2. What are some examples of invisible disabilities?

  3. What is the age group in which they predominantly occur?

  4. How can we know if a student has an invisible disability?

  5. What can a teacher do if they notice a child with invisible disabilities?

  6. Who can apply for a disability certificate in India?

  7. 20 powerful ways how a teacher can help an invisibly disabled child, in particular.

  8. Conclusion.

What is an Invisible Disability? What are some examples?

An Invisible Disability is a physical, mental or neurological condition. It is not visible from the outside. Yet, it can limit or challenge a person's movement, senses or activities.

People with an invisible disability need not be essentially on a wheelchair chair.

In fact, most of these children are able to walk, talk and perform their daily life activities too!

Let me give you some examples,

Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, mental illness, hearing loss.

At what age can we start suspecting an invisible disability?

My simple answer would be "as soon as possible". There is no fixed time or age frame that fits in this category.

Parents need to be aware of their child's milestones. A delay in reaching the milestones, be it walking, or eating without support. Sitting without support, not giving an eye-contact.

These are big red flags. If you notice these in your child. Consult your doctor right away.

Wondering what are the child's milestones?

Invisible disabilities can happen when your child starts going to school too. I mean to say later in childhood.

Sometimes, much later in life.

Mental illnesses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can also occur in adults. It can occur after the death of a loved one, or after an episode of severe trauma.

Keep the adults aside.

Let's talk about the children now.

Anxiety can also occur in school children.

The root cause can be anything.

Child bullying, fear of the teacher scolding, fear of punishment. The pressure to look beautiful, pressure to come first in the class, fear of not having friends.

There can be so many reasons.

What we know is just the tip of the iceberg.

How can we know if a student has an invisible disability?

  • Children with invisible disabilities usually cannot pay complete attention. They often miss deadlines and forget to do school homework.

  • Children with invisible disabilities also have fewer friends.

  • Performance in the examinations will not be up to the mark.

  • Children with invisible disabilities like dyslexia can have problems reading. They often feel that the letters are dancing.

  • Children with dysgraphia have trouble with writing. They often get confused with the letters 'b' and 'd'. Writing in reverse is also an additional symptom.

  • Irregular letters and sizes can also be seen. Often children are unable to write on lines.

  • Inability to differentiate between green and red colors. This happens with children with color blindness.

  • The list to spot an Invisibly disabled child can go on. However, with experience, you can easily spot a child who is simply unable to fit in. Maybe, that child is Invisibly-Disabled.

What can a teacher do on suspecting an Invisible Disability in a child?

  • Talk to the school counselor.

  • Get the parents involved.

  • Do not blame the child for being that way.

  • Practice empathy.

  • Maybe the best gift you can give is simply to convince the parents and refer the child to a psychiatrist.

  • If the psychiatrist diagnoses an Invisible Disability (ID), then encourage the parents this.

If the child is eligible for a Disability Card by the Government of India, by all means, it's advised to go for it. Having a Disability Card can help the child avail benefits from the Government.

Even patients with mental illnesses can avail the benefits of the Disability Card.

How can you help an Invisibly Disabled child?

1) Watch out for the early symptoms.

By minimizing the number of students in a class, the teacher will be able to focus on every individual child.

Pay attention to every child. And especially towards the students who score less in examinations.

2) Practice different ways of teaching.

Employ different ways of teaching your lesson. Make the students read the lesson in turn.

Observe if students are able to follow what you are writing on the board.

Encourage students to take part in group activities.

Play audio-visuals in the class as well. Teach the same topic employing all these methods in the class. Practice inclusion.

3) Don't use green and red in class or on boards.

This is especially true for children who are colour-blind. They are unable to differentiate between green and red colors. So make sure that you don't use green or red when teaching.

When it comes to using a marker, avoid red or green colours. Use blue or black instead.

Simple things like these make a huge difference.

4) Give the corner seat to the disabled child.

Practicing inclusion is true.

Make sure to allow children who are disabled to sit in the corner near the door. This can help the student go out of the class easily without disturbing the other children. They will have easy access to step out of the class.

5) Allow the child to record what you say to take notes.

Allow the disabled child to use a device that will enable them to record what you teach.

Probably not every student can follow what you teach.

6) Give them extra time during exams.

This goes without saying. Special kids wouldn't be able to complete the examination in time. If they are severely impaired make sure to give them a scribe option.

7) Always tell them the schedule in advance (about assignments)

No, special children might not be able to follow your assignments on time.

So make sure you give them their assignments in advance.

They can get ample time to finish the assignments too.

8) Be okay if they don't submit it on time.

This needs no special attention. It's better to be prepared for this as well. Don't shame the child or blame the child if the child is unable to finish the assignments on time.

(Even if you have given the assignment schedule in advance)

9) Keep the waiting time as low as possible.

Special kids might easily get restless with time. Be present for the class in time. Time management is always a matter of concern for special kids. So make sure you lead by example here.

10) Discuss the class objectives before starting the class

This is extremely important. Children should know what they are learning. Make sure you tell them the class objectives before starting the class. They should be able to know what they are expected to learn at the end of the session.

11) Ramp, please! Or lift, please! No more stairs or steps.

Special kids or even invisibly disabled children at times might want to use a wheelchair.

If your school is not wheelchair friendly, maybe it's a serious grievance to be concerned.

Using a wheelchair on a flight of steps is challenging. So make sure you have a ramp or at least a lift. That can make it more accessible for disabled / differently-abled children.

13) Always assign a volunteer to the special child.

Now, let that come out as a punishment. Take turns for it. Allow every student in the class to volunteer. Maybe every child can volunteer to assist the special child for a week.

That way one can practice inclusion too.

Every student in the class can learn empathy, in a practical way!

14) Different ways of giving the question paper.

It's high time you reflect on the question paper style. I know that this isn't always in your hands. The Board of Education decides it. At least when you are giving class tests, make sure to include Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ's) in it too.

Your question paper should contain questions for writing answers, MCQ's, plus drawings.

That can help the differently-abled child.

15) Conduct Parents Teachers Meetings frequently.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with the child's parents is always healthy. It ensures the all-round development of the child. Interact with their parents as much as you can.

16) Encourage! Use the right tone.

The teacher's voice and tone have to be the right way. For children with severe mental illnesses, a loud tone might not be favourable. Be extra patient.

Make sure that there is NO SEPARATE CLASS option for the disabled child in particular. (UNTIL the parents themselves ask for it).

There need not be a mandatory demarcation between the differently-abled and normal children.

Don't use words "like the wheelchair guy" or "the wheelchair kid" to describe.

Remember a child has a name. There's nothing sweeter to someone than their name. Even when teachers are talking amongst themselves. Make sure to only and only call the differently-abled child or a child by their name.

17) Have awareness days and practice inclusion.

Every disability has an awareness week or an awareness day. Make sure you educate yourself with those awareness days. A small celebration to practice inclusion would make a huge difference to the child.

Simple acts like wearing those awareness ribbons will make a difference. Trust me, when I say this.

18) Provide dark environments to conduct exams upon request.

Many students with mental health issues prefer dark surroundings more than lighter ones.

Maybe during an examination, creating a darker environment would help them.

Again, this has to only happen upon request by the parent.

19) Children don't always come to you for help.

Remember this golden rule. The only practical reason children are encouraged to go to school is to put their egos aside and learn.

In cases of special kids, most often, teachers themselves learn a lot too!

Step down and ask them if they need help.

Don't hesitate to open up and ask them if they need help. It's highly unlikely that special children would come for help by themselves.

20) Let the child do more of what they love.

Never embarrass the child for not being able to be good at something.

I know you play a huge role in shaping a child's personality. Understand that not every child is good at everything.

It's definitely possible that children with special needs be great at co-curricular activities. These include painting, art, dance, or anything that boosts their creativity.

At least, for this reason, encourage that your school is not all work and no play.

There has to be a different set of co-curricular in every school. Children must be encouraged to take part in co-curricular activities too!


With everything that's said, I personally believe that the world is still a good place to live in.

It's these little acts of kindness that matters.

Teachers play a huge role in helping children with invisible disabilities. These include dysgraphia (related to handwriting), and dyslexia (associated with vision). Sometimes, anxiety and depression too.

I want you to take a moment and appreciate yourself for the difference that you will be making!

Lastly, if you're still a teacher using green and red markers, Kindly DON'T.

Maybe replace the colours with blue or black.

See the difference that you can make.


Dr. Shyamala Peesapati.

Founder: The Rare World Official.

The author is a dentist by profession. At blogging lies her heart. She is a passionate rare diseases advocate who is also having a hand in psychology. A learner for a lifetime, she's aiming to change the world one blog post at a time.

Also, please share this blog post with other teacher's too.

If you did so, congratulations!

You made a difference.



Aksa Biju
Aksa Biju
Nov 26, 2022



Srikanth N
Srikanth N
Oct 23, 2022


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Thanks for your support! :)

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