Action Kit: Disability advocates


Convince the disabilities community that hidden mobility disabilities are a legitimate and growing type of disability and need to be included and addressed in any disability advocacy.

Main message:

The number of adults of all ages with hidden mobility disabilities (HMD) is growing, and yet this type of disability is invisible even within the “disabilities community.” Many equate “mobility disability” with the use of a wheelchair or scooter makes maneuverability the primary access issues. For the millions of people who can walk independently but have limitations in the distance they can walk and the time they can stand unsupported, the access issues are distance and time standing:

  • Short distances to walk:  35-50 feet, but no more than 70 feet.
  • Brief periods to stand:  1-2 minutes, but no more than 5 minutes.

Types of accommodation needed:

  • Land use protocols and building codes modified to ensure that 70 feet is the longest distance a person needs to walk without being able to sit down and rest.
  • Support the use of cars plus parking close to services protected.

Sample email:

Because of [the reasons for writing], I’m writing to share with you highlights of research on the lived experience of persons with hidden mobility disabilities – those who are able to walk but only a short distance and able to stand unsupported but only for a short time. The specific findings, which are detailed at are that:

  • Short distance = 35-50 feet, or at most 70 feet
  • Brief time = 1-2 minutes, or at most 5 minutes

Requirements to walk further or stand longer have serious health consequences and prevent persons with hidden mobility disabilities from engage in community activities.

Please share these findings with colleagues and other interested parties. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what changes you can effect to improve the ability of persons with HMD to participate fully and effectively in community life, particularly with regard to [the specific changes you are requesting].

Resources to use:

  • HMD Fact Sheet [often attachments are blocked so you might want to simply include the high points in your email]

Examples of people to target:

  • Disability advisory groups
  • Disability coalitions
  • Disability advocates