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January 25, 2024

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience

Submit a 2page paper in which you address the following:

What are invisible disabilities?

Explain Ramon’s experience of invisible disabilities.

What other identities may be intersecting with ability to contribute to further oppression for Ramon?

Explain how you would approach Ramon’s case as a social worker. How would you intervene or empower the client? Make sure to provide APA citations and a reference list.

Invisible Disabilities - Ramon’s Experience

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience

 As people in a highly visual world, we take in information and make judgments largely through our visual perceptions. But what about what cannot be seen? Invisible disabilities are just that, invisible. However, they may be recognizable to those who live with them. Invisible disabilities include such conditions as diabetes, autism, fibromyalgia, traumatic brain injury, and mental illness among others. These are neurological or physiological conditions that are not immediately apparent but that nevertheless affect every aspect of a person’s life. When discussing their disability with someone else, they may receive comments like, well, you look fine to me. Are you sure there’s something wrong with you? You don’t seem disabled? Oh, it’s all in your head. These kinds of statements invalidate their experience and the very real symptoms and challenges they may be having.

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience

So not only may the person feel marginalized by the disability itself but also by the lack of acknowledgment and empathy from others. Social workers recognize the impact of invisible disabilities in their assessments and treatment plans examining how the disability intersects with other factors to influence the client’s well-being. They also know that just because a disability is hidden it does not make a person any less worthy of support.


Ramon is an 18-year-old male who identifies as Latino and African American. He is in his senior year of high school and lives with his parents and two sisters. Ramon has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability and with moderate hearing loss in his right ear. His mother, Angela, reached out to me, the school social worker.

Background and History

Early History

After gaining consent, I met with Angela and Ramon for background and history. I asked about Ramon’s early history, and she reported that as a baby, Ramon had multiple ear infections as well as seizures. He was hospitalized and put on medication to control the seizures, though nothing was done for the ears. At 5 years old, he became very sick, and it was discovered that his Eustachian tubes were bent, which had resulted in muffled hearing on the right side. Angela reported that if the doctor, who was White, had noticed the issue when he’d been a baby, Ramon could have gotten tubes placed in his ears and would not need a hearing aid. Angela reported skepticism and distrust of the medical community based on this experience.

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience


Angela reported that Ramon adapted over time to a hearing aid. He remained somewhat removed in social situations and was overwhelmed when he entered school. Because of his initial struggle in academics, his IQ was assessed and determined to be below average; throughout the duration of his public schooling, Ramon had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) based on this identified intellectual disability.

Presenting Issue

Once I had this background from Angela, I asked what brought them here. Angela mentioned that the college and career counselor at the high school had implied that college was not in Ramon’s future. Angela was furious and did not feel heard by the school administration when she brought up the incident with them. She would like Ramon’s IQ to be reassessed. She felt that the original practitioner who performed the IQ assessment “did not get it right” and that “Ramon has grown so much.”

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience

Session with Ramon

I then met with Ramon individually. During the meeting, I observed that he fidgeted and appeared anxious, occasionally biting his fingernails. “How long is this going to take?” he asked, while looking at the time. Ramon reported that he didn’t want to be late for gym class. He hung his head and talked in a low voice but responded to all of my questions appropriately. When I asked how he felt about college, he said he wanted to “go to LSU” and that the college and career counselor had started showing him job listings instead. “Now my mom’s all mad,” he said and rolled his eyes. “Are you mad?” I asked. Ramon said, “I don’t think that was fair of him to do. I’m not dumb.”

I asked Ramon how high school had been for him. And he responded that he didn’t wear his hearing aid because it made him self-conscious around his peers. He sat on the right side of the classroom so he could hear clearly from his left ear. This provoked some anxiety prior to each class about whether he would be able to find a seat that would position him well to hear. In cases where he could not hear, Ramon could not fully participate in class; teachers interpreted this lack of engagement as part of him being “slow.” Ramon also reported fear and anxiety around test-taking and social interactions. Other than that, he explained that he generally did okay in school, and his grades back up this statement.

Invisible Disabilities – Ramon’s Experience

Based on my recommendation, the school supported carrying out another assessment for both IQ and mental health. The findings were that Ramon does not have a low IQ but rather generalized and social anxiety disorders. These mental health issues were contributing to Ramon’s social isolation and feelings of extreme worry, which in turn impacted his performance on both the IQ assessment and school tests. Use APA referencing style.