Action Kit: Media


Convince members of the media to include hidden mobility disabilities as a legitimate and growing type of disability that needs to be included and addressed in any disability-related reporting.

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, which 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 coverage needed:

  • Do articles or programming on persons with HMD and on the HMD Alliance.
  • Include HMD when doing articles or programming on disabilities.
  • Include the impact on persons with HMD when reporting on proposed changes to building codes, parking or vehicle restrictions, or initiatives like healthy / walkable / livable cities.

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 trust that you will consider these findings when planning programming or news coverage, and 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:

Examples of people to target:

  • Reporters on disability or social issues
  • Radio and TV programs that cover social issues
  • Print and online media that cover social issues