Invisible disabilities: looks can be deceiving

woman harassed for parking in handicap space

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Imagine you pull into a parking lot and notice someone pull into a handicap space who appear to be perfectly able. Do you say something to them, or maybe alert a manager? 

Looks can be deceiving and such is the case for Taylor Williams. From the outside Taylor appears to be your everyday college student, but at the age of 19 her world was rocked. 

"They though it was lupus they thought it was MS, they went through an array of tests. So I always had the symptoms it just never progressed until I got into my late teens," said Williams. 

After nearly 30 doctors and dozens of tests, she was diagnosed with ehlers-danlos syndrome. A rare disorder which causes mutations to the collagen in her body. 

"It affects my brain and all of my organs. So my heart, my lungs, my eyes, my connective tissues, joints, everything," said Williams. 

Dozens of daily pills, help from her loves ones and various modifications around her apartment have helped her adjust to her new normal. 

"It's never really bothered me, I have never really thought of it as me having to be a, I don't want to say servant, but I love her so it makes it easy," said boyfriend Austin Hall.

Since her disability isn't always outwardly visible, Taylor says she is sometimes harassed, which was the case when she visited her local Target.

"I parked in handicap, it wasn't the only one open. I walk in and start looking for earbuds and this couple approached me and was like, "How dare you park in handicap, you're clearly not disabled,” said Williams. 

It wasn't the first time Taylor had experienced something like this, but it didn't make it any easier. 

"That was the first time where I really, really felt the pain of it. I just could not believe the audacity of these people to come up to a random stranger and say you're not handicap when you have no idea," said Williams. 

But Taylor says it's situations like these that drive her to continue educating others on her disability. 

"I could have it a lot worse and other people do. So I have to live with what I'm given and be and advocate for people like me," said Williams. 

© 2018 KAGS-TV


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