Invisible Disabilities Speaker & Author


Disabilities that aren’t immediately recognizable by others are called “invisible disabilities” or “hidden disabilities.” They are surprisingly common, and not only do they place substantial limitations on what a person can do, but they also often come with cruel stigma, inducing what Christina calls “illness shaming.”

Hidden disabilities are conditions that include cognitive difficulties, learning differences, mental health disorders, physical pain, fatigue, or other physical conditions that are not apparent to the onlooker but significantly impact one's daily activities.

In her presentations, disability speaker Christina Irene rips the shroud around invisible disabilities wide open through education and story. She mixes her sharp humor with bold facts in revealing her own struggles and successes and sharing touching anecdotes about her friends with disabilities. Her interactive presentations are engrossing, eye-opening, and entertaining experiences that inspire sensitivity, companionship, and a huge jolt of hope for anyone impacted by an invisible disability.

Explore Christina’s invisible disabilities programs below, but know you don’t have to order off the menu. Most often, Christina will “mix and match” learning outcomes to create the perfect fit for each unique audience’s needs and objectives.

Program 1: Introduction to Invisible Disabilities

duration: 60 or 90 MINUTES

Christina’s flagship program is designed for an audience of people with and without disabilities. It is the go-to for first-time clients, whether corporate or academic and is easily customizable for any specific initiative or objectives. This “light approach to a heavy topic” gives a behind-the-scenes look at invisible disabilities with profiles of real people experiencing a range of medical, cognitive, and mental health conditions and the 360-degree-impact on their lives. Christina uses this lived-experience approach to provide actionable takeaways for all attendees.

Program 1 Learning Outcomes:

  • Define invisible disabilities, cite examples
  • Understand the fluidity, variability, and diversity of disability and disability identity
  • Intimately understand the lives and successes of people living with disabilities
  • Understand the “social symptoms” of disabilities, including the experiences of caregivers
  • Apply Christina’s 4 inclusivity themes
  • Identify and counteract the 3 common stigmas affecting people with invisible disabilities
  • Implement 6 specific dos and don’ts for inclusivity
  • Try out Christina’s 5 favorite coping skills

Program 2: Communicating About Invisible Disabilities

duration: 1 hour

Christina’s second program is an ideal follow-up for audiences who have already attended her Introduction to Invisible Disabilities Awareness. It can likewise work well for first-time audiences or combined with the Introduction program for a longer event. This program focuses on how to communicate about hidden disabilities and mental health conditions and again, it’s appropriate for people with or without disabilities and is presented in Christina’s signature “light approach to a heavy topic.”

Video: Christina and Program 2 are introduced to a university faculty audience.

Program 2 Learning Outcomes:

  • Define invisible disabilities
  • Recognize the 5 stages of diagnosis
  • Understand how grieving applies to chronic physical and mental illnesses
  • Know the 5 ways the “moving target” of chronic illness affects daily life
  • Embody the 5 reasons people with disabilities must communicate about our conditions
  • Implement Christina’s original Splat System of daily communication
  • Master the reasons, methods, and cautions of communicating our daily conditions to ourselves
  • Follow scripts to sensitively offer assistance to people with disabilities

Program 3: Inclusion and Universal Design

duration: 60 to 90 minutes

This program was inspired by frequently asked questions and special requests from previous clients, particularly higher education faculty. Attendees need not have attended Program 1 or Program 2. Invisible disabilities are a focus, but mobility impairments and visible disabilities are also covered as well as intersections of identity groups.

Program 3 Learning Outcomes:

  • Define universal design
  • Empathically experience unique stories of people with disabilities and unique difficulties faced “away from home”
  • Understand that universal design and inclusion extend well beyond just “barrier free”
  • Understand the intersectionalities of disability and other identity groups
  • Differentiate between medical and social models of disability
  • Apply universal design concepts to spaces, communication, and social events
  • Facilitate self-identification of disabilities
  • Facilitate effective collaboration on school or work projects
virtual training encouraging communication about invisible disabilities
Virtual and webinar programs are available.

Additional Program Options

  • Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace
  • Hidden Disabilities Training for Medical Professionals
  • Hidden Disabilities Seminar for Veterans
  • Hidden Disabilities and Universal Design Professional Development
  • Self-Care Crafting Event
  • a customized disability and diversity program for your organization

Bring an Inspiring Awareness-Action-Advocacy Program to Your Company, Association, School, or Community. Click here to contact Christina for availability and pricing.


“The best overview of invisible disabilities I’ve ever seen. Everyone should hear her speak, to help advocate change and also help themselves.”
Deeya Bhattacharya, PR Chair, Advocates for Disabilites Awareness, Johns Hopkins University

“Thanks so much for the great presentation you gave to our organization. The subject matter was very informative, and you provided many great tools that we can use and share with others. I think we have a new perspective on how to manage our own invisible disabilities and how to help others who may be dealing with invisible disabilities.
Michelle Carpenter, Communications Specialist, National Commission on Certifying Physicians Assistants

“What an amazing job you did the other night! Everyone really responded to you, and your message really resonated with the group. This was such a great topic that affects SO many people.” —Stephanie McDonald, Association Project Coordinator, American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN)

“I think the most profound thing for me is having learned more today about myself as a result of the talk. It is affirming, validating, and empowering to have the information you presented.”
Natalia, corporate workshop attendee, Richardson, TX

“Christina was a wonderful presenter! She is authentic, effusive, genuine and compassionate. She does an excellent job reaching out to students. I would have her back to present anytime!”
Katherine Ramrill-Teece, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Onondaga Community College

“Christina Irene instantly engaged our students and kept them interested the whole time. Can’t wait to have her return!”
–Wendi Richards, Assistant Director of Educational Support Services, SUNY Cobleskill

I attended your webinar at Ceridian today about invisible disabilities. My sister has physical and mental challenges, and I was hoping to learn how to be better with how I treat people. You are an outstanding speaker, and I really enjoyed your talk! I actually recognized that I have issues I now defined as invisible disabilities (chronic conditions) and I feel so much better about my situation and how to address my own issues!
Robin, corporate webinar attendee

“I loved this presentation! Appreciated the personal aspect and the tips at the end.”
–Madelynn Wellons, President, Advocates for Disabilities Awareness, Johns Hopkins University

“What an eye opener! We never notice the little things we can do to make our students feel more welcome. Christina has made it evident how to do that!”
Evan, Internal Affairs Chair, Student Programming Board, Le Moyne College

“Christina is amazing and is incredibly knowledgeable with invisible disabilities. She is truly a spectacular individual with a passion for others.”
–Devlin, Union College

“Loved the self-care craft workshop. Such an awesome way to encourage individuals with invisible disabilities to communicate their current wellness status.”
Gabriella Vasta, Coordinator of Access and Equity Services, SUNY Delhi

“Wonderful facilitator! Very engaging! Kept my interest and broadened my thinking!”
Jane, 68, Oneonta, NY

“Thank you so much for bringing more awareness to invisible disabilities that so many of us deal with on a daily basis. Stay strong and keep spreading the word!”
–Rick, corporate webinar attendee

“I loved the discussion of stigma and how invisible disabilities are often perceived. I think that the audience at JHU really needed it, especially the pre-meds.”
–Bella Rodant, Treasurer, Advocates for Disabilities Awareness, Johns Hopkins University

“A well-rounded perspective on the many invisible disabilities that we are dealing with first-had or relationally, day-to-day.”
Whitney, Jamestown Community College

“The presentation was awesome. It was inspirational, emotional.”
Agatha, 26, Houston, TX

“Thank you for speaking out for those who can not find the words. We need more people like you in the world!”
Claire, 25, Tampica, IL

“Amazing session about ID. Opened my eyes to how many people have ID and the need to end the stigma.”
Cayla, Student Government Association Treasurer, SUNY Jefferson

“Inspirational! I learned quite a bit more about things I thought I already knew.”
Laura, The College of Saint Rose

“A great, personalized presentation that invites the audience into a realm which they may be unfamiliar.”
Joe, Campus Activities Leader, King’s College

“You shine a light on a cloudy subject.”
Reagan, 23, Syracuse, NY

“Great insight. This presentation touched all types of ID and kept it light. This is a serious subject, but putting it in a light emotional way made it comfortable.”
Taylor, Campus Activities Board Secretary, Jefferson Community College

“This presentation will open your eyes, your mind, your being, to make you a better, kinder human being.”
Tom, 67, Orange, NJ

“Extremely inspiring and motivational. I appreciate your presence.”
Fabrianna, Jamestown Community College


Click here to view more hidden disabilities video.

Previous Clients (partial list)

  • United States Treasury
  • United States Navy
  • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
  • National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
  • American Institute of Physics
  • American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing
  • American Lighting Association
  • Target Corporation
  • Eaton
  • Redfin
  • Ocean Network Express
  • AGC Biologics
  • Advarra
  • DSM
  • Ceridian
  • Alfa Systems
  • Flexera
  • Computer Aid Inc (CAI)
  • Penn State Health
  • San Diego Gas & Electric
  • Adaptive Financial Consulting
  • Lowenstein Sandler LLP
  • Project Lyme
  • Jemez Vocational Rehabilitation Program
  • FHI 360
  • Vermont Family Network
  • Kiwanis Club
  • Immune Deficiencies Foundation Australia
  • Mt. San Antonio Gardens Retirement Community
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Tennessee
  • Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Pace University
  • Syracuse University
  • Marywood University
  • University of Maryland – multiple campuses
  • Bloomsburg University
  • Clarion University
  • Penn State University – multiple campuses
  • Alfred University
  • Post University
  • Shippensburg University
  • Suffolk University
  • State University of New York (SUNY) – multiple campuses
  • CUNY Hostos Community College
  • New York Chiropractic College
  • Essex County College
  • Elmira College
  • Utica College
  • Keuka College
  • Connecticut College
  • Lone Star College
  • Harper College
  • Endicott College
  • The Peddie School

About Christina

Christina Irene lives with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Since 2015, she has made it her purpose to be an advocate and a teacher for people with invisible illnesses and impairments. She is the author of TalkingSplat: Communicating About Our Hidden Disabilities and Splatvocate: Supporting People With Hidden Disabilities

She brings her past lives to all her programs: not just the memory of life without disability, but experiences working with diverse groups of people. She began touring as stand-up comedian in 2000, with over 700 shows in 33 states. She taught high school English, creative writing, journalism, theatre, and algebra, in addition to conducting comedy and theatre workshops. She’s traveled to 20 countries, all 50 states, lived in four states, and has done an eclectic variety of jobs from tobacco farmer to carnival barker to ad writer.

In 2014 was the onset of Christina’s fibromyalgia, which took over a year to be diagnosed. It has necessitated lifestyle changes and a difficult and ongoing coping process. But, she has continued to thrive in both career and community. While not letting up in her adventures around the world, she maintains her business, helps with charity events, was elected to her town council, served as chairperson of her town’s municipal authority, and also served on the planning commission.

All her life, Christina’s passion has been for people to be able to just be themselves – with confidence and a path clear of bullying, discrimination, and obstacles. Now, as she struggles to just be her own self despite debilitating conditions, she is more emboldened than ever to spread her message.

Contact Christina for availability and pricing.