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.
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.
Indivisible Disability Association (IDA) – National Disability ID website
Under the National Disability ID Initiative (NDID) of the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA), the IDA is pursuing legislation in every state that will 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 DMV recognition of the person's 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) with the passing of House Bill 16 on May 15, 2017. The IDA is currently working directly with legislators across the nation to advance this initiative.
How can you help?
- Contact your legislators!! Ask them to get in touch with the IDA so they can pass legislation in your state.
- Help support the funding needed for the lobbying efforts and creating the certification programming for law enforcement and first responders. IDA is initially seeking $50,000-$200,000 immediately to keep the NDID moving forward. Every little bit helps!
- Post or "like" one of the NDID links on your Facebook page, Instagram story, or Twitter feed.
- Tell your friends and family to get involved!
- Order some IDA "Invisible No More" wristbands to share with others to help raise awareness.
Mark Invisible Disability Week on your calendar: 18 October to 24 October 2020.