In March 2023 the Society for Students with a Disability started our Dynamic Disabilities campaign on social media. The campaign ran for a week from March 20th to 24th and was all about education, community, and sharing our stories about how dynamic disabilities impact each and everyone one of us. However, we didn’t want this campaign to end after March 24th and still wanted to share our community stories, experiences, and thoughts on what it means to live in the world with a disability and what we wish others knew about our disabilities.

On this website page, we will be creating blog posts to share the stories submitted on our anonymous google form. If you would like to share your own story please use the following link: Dynamic Disabilities google form

What’s a Dynamic Disability?

“Dynamic disability is a relatively new concept that means that a disability oscillates in severity (normally tied to what is called a “flare”), where all or one of the symptoms of a chronic illness are more active or worsen for a period of time, whether it’s for a matter of weeks or months. 

An individual that identifies as being dynamically disabled, is someone that is able to perform tasks or do activities, for example, in a day, more than once a day, or as sporadically or as often as they can, but the individual may not be able to complete those same tasks or do them at all in the next moment or the next day (week, etc.).” – DisArt Now


SSD Community Understanding

“not feeling disabled enough one day and too disabled the other days” 

Dynamic disabilities are characterized by fluctuating symptoms of a disability or health condition. This means that folks may have “good days” and “bad days,” and each day is different or unpredictable. Since the condition is not consistent, each day needs to be evaluated at face value independent from the day before; furthermore, symptoms can change throughout the day, requiring an additional layer of flexibility and constantly questioning capacity levels. 

Though obstacles may feel constant, one learns how to prepare for anything and becomes a master of anticipating their needs. “I still want to be invited” and I’m “not looking for attention or exaggerating.” “Sometimes it’s easier to hide my disability than face the invalidation of the medical system and individuals.” Masking leads to “wondering if you’re disabled enough” (you are). 

Like invisible disabilities, there is also great diversity within dynamic disabilities. While some dynamically disabled folks are visibly disabled (i.e. someone who uses a mobility aid), others are invisibly disabled (i.e. someone with a chronic health condition with no or few outward symptoms); moreover, there are also folks who are both visibly and invisibly dynamically disabled. Additionally, dynamically disabled folks may field constant questions and comments such as “you don’t look disabled [today].” This is another shared quality between invisible and dynamic disabilities.

Disclaimer: This is a living, working understanding and it is by no means an exhaustive definition. 

We welcome additions and constructive feedback.

Tara Moss