Students with Episodic Disabilities
Realize has been a leading voice in advocating for the recognition of the needs of people living with episodic disabilities in Canada. Episodic disabilities are invisible disabilities. Episodic disabilities are long-term conditions that are characterized by periods of good health interrupted by periods of illness or disability. These periods may vary in severity, length and predictability from one person to another. Some common examples of episodic disabilities include multiple sclerosis, arthritis, epilepsy, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, chronic pain, some forms of cancer and mental illness.
According to work undertaken by Furrie et al (2016) in looking at the Canada Survey on Disability 2012, a remarkable 4 out of 5 people with disabilities in Canada have an episodic disability as a primary or secondary condition.
This means that our understanding of disability as something that is visible, physical and static is simply not accurate. More Canadians live with disabilities that are episodic, unpredictable and invisible. The unpredictability associated with episodic disabilities can wreak havoc with a person’s ability to engage in education, employment and family life. Many conditions that result in episodic disability (like depression and anxiety) are first experienced in early adulthood, which is why episodic disabilities in particular, can have a profound effect on post-secondary education success.
Realize works to support awareness of the unique needs of students living with episodic disabilities through a number of initiatives.