A clear definition of hidden mobility disabilities and related concepts is critical for a common understanding of the challenges faced. The definitions of “access” or “accessibility” are already in common use. The other definitions are provided to support education about hidden mobility disabilities.

Access or accessible means that a person with disabilities is, without assistance, able to approach, enter, pass to and from, and make use of an area and its facilities.

Hidden mobility disability means that a person appears to be able to walk unaided and with no difficulty but in reality can only walk a short distance without health consequences or stand unsupported for more than a brief time.

Impediments to mobility include all factors that would make walking more challenging for persons with a hidden mobility disability – such as having to navigate a slope or rough, unstable, or uneven terrain – and the need to stand unsupported for more than one or two minutes (a “brief time“) without being able to sit down and rest.

Short distance means the distance that a person with a hidden mobility disability can walk comfortably without incurring severe pain and/or other health consequences. Results from the Survey on Hidden Mobility Disabilities indicate that this distance is typically 35* feet, while a person without a hidden mobility disability typically considers even 311 feet (or one city block) to be a short distance.

*A standard school bus is 35 feet long.