My son has Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) a.k.a. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Most of his symptoms are invisible, so most people assume things instead of asking.  
  • Because of the name of this condition, they assume he is just tired and needs more sleep. 
  • Because he is intelligent, they assume he is lazy in school.  
  • Because his short term memory is not good, they assume that he forget things because he really doesn't care. 
  • Because he's not coughing, they assume that he doesn't have asthma and he isn't sick (even though he has active levels of EBV and CMV in his system).
  •  Because he doesn't always need to use his wheelchair, they assume he's faking.  
  • Because he's not crying in front of them, they assume he isn't hurting.  
  • Because he's quiet, they assume he's shy.  
  • Because he puts his head down, they assume he's asleep.  
  • Because they know very little about CFIDS, they assume that what worked for their brother's friend's sister's mother's uncle will work for my son. 
  • Because he's sick...they leave him alone to deal with the symptoms when they're the most severe.  
  • Because they leave him to deal with it alone... they REALLY have no clue what this disease has done to his life. 
Please, please, please be careful about making assumptions. My son, and I'm sure many other children with 'hidden' disabilities, have been hurt by the results! Thanks, Shanon
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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468
Last updated: November 15, 2004