Disability Invisible Disabilities Japan Welfare

Graphic designer develops card to convey hidden disabilities

“A Japanese woman with a developmental disorder has devised a card to help others with disabilities better communicate their rather uncommon symptoms in an attempt to reach out to the rest of the public.”

From Kyodo

August 27th 2018

OSAKA – A Japanese woman with a developmental disorder has devised a card to help others with disabilities better communicate their rather uncommon symptoms in an attempt to reach out to the rest of the public.

For example, some people might be “hypersensitive to loud sounds” or “have strong preferences” for certain things to an unusual degree. These would be expressed on a card dreamed up by Natsumi Miyazaki, a 27-year-old graphic designer in Nara Prefecture with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

After being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum after graduating from college, Miyazaki came up with the idea of designing the Card of My Symptoms, a card the same size as a business card that would be used as a simple way to convey her symptoms. She began distributing the cards across the country in July.

The designer said she hopes for a society where people who are informed that someone has a developmental disorder will react naturally, asking, “Oh, you have (a disability)? Then what are you good at?”

So far, 3,100 of the cards have been handed out to social welfare councils and support groups for the disabled in Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures, with more expected to be delivered to those who want them.

Developmental disabilities including autism, Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cause difficulties with social interaction, communication and self-help efforts, among other aspects of daily life, but the symptoms vary depending on the individual.

They usually show up in childhood, but some people aren’t diagnosed until they are adults and tend to have difficulty finding jobs.

Miyazaki herself had a hard time finding employment but now works for an advertising agency as a graphic designer and salesperson. She has been raising awareness about such disorders together with friends she meets through social networks.

On the Card of My Symptoms she designed, there are two categories — “hypersensibility” and “what I am bad at and troubled by.”

Different symptoms are listed under each, such as “strong light” and “particular sense of touch,” as well as “restlessness” and “being unable to read the emotions” of others, so people can circle those that apply.

Miyazaki said she often felt that people with developmental disorders who meet through self-help groups or social networks had strong ties with each other but couldn’t reach out to those outside those groups. She thus came up with the idea of distributing cards to familiarize other people with her symptoms.

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