Document Type



Approximately 61 million (or 1 in 4) adults in the United States have a disability. Despite this prevalence, many people cannot name a coworker who is disabled, possibly due to the number of people who have invisible disabilities. This lack of understanding of both causes and prevalence can cause both the disabled and their supervisors or managers to be unaware of how to address a disabled person’s needs. In this article, the authors shed light on how to improve the professional environment for disabled archivists, staff, and patrons. People without disabilities or those with unrealized disabilities can all benefit when universal design is considered. The best way to achieve inclusivity is to encourage all employees to model the behavior you want to see in others and to normalize disabilities and accommodations. In an environment where accommodations for everyone are normalized, many of the micro- or macro-aggressions may be eliminated from the workplace, as it can help remove the stigma surrounding disability. Everyone wants to work in a supportive environment where they feel respected.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Abney, A., Denison, V., Tanguay, C., & Ganz, M. (2022). Understanding the Unseen: Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace. The American Archivist, 85(1), 88–103.


© Ann Abney, Veronica Denison, Chris Tanguay, and Michelle Ganz. "Understanding the Unseen: Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace" is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0 license.