When moving around in public spaces, it may often seem obvious which of those among us may require a little extra patience, consideration or perhaps a helping hand. These people are usually those with visible disabilities. Visible disabilities refers to physical or mental disabilities that are easy to identify or observe in a person. This may include individuals who use a wheelchair, have missing or amputated limbs, neurological disorders such as Down syndrome or hearing or vision impairments. People with visible disabilities face various challenges in their daily lives and encounter prejudice or lack of understanding from their surroundings.
However, not all disabilities are visible or easily to observed. Many people live with health problems and disabilities that are invisible to the outside world, such as chronic pain, mental health issues, or neurological conditions. These types of disabilities can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to function in daily life but can be difficult for others to understand or recognize due to the lack of visible symptoms. Although invisible disabilities can be just as serious as visible disabilities, they are often overlooked or stigmatized, or simply dismissed and the people affected may encounter barriers in society. It is therefore important to raise awareness about invisible disabilities and understand how best to support and assist people with these conditions.
One of the initiatives that helps raise awareness about invisible disabilities and makes daily travel in public spaces easier for those affected is the Sunflower Lanyard. The Sunflower Program and Lanyard were created in 2016 when Gatwick Airport in London wanted to provide their passengers with invisible disabilities a better and more comfortable travel experience. They wanted to make the invisible visible. When a person wears the Sunflower Lanyard around their neck, they signal to staff that they may need more patience or assistance.
The Sunflower Lanyard was received very positively, and since then it has been implemented in several airports around the world as a recognized and effective method of making the invisible, visible to someone’s surroundings. The Sunflower Program has been introduced in several airports in countries such as Australia, the United States, Denmark, Canada, Cyprus, India, Japan, New Zealand, and Lithuania.
The Sunflower Lanyard is however not limited to airports worldwide. It has gained recognition and widespread adoption outside of the airport industry, with several organizations and businesses embracing and implementing it as a popular method for individuals with invisible disabilities to navigate various public spaces, such as shopping centres, supermarkets, train stations, and parks.
Institutions and organizations that implement the Sunflower Lanyard typically establish a training program aimed at ensuring that their employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to identify invisible disabilities, understand the significance of the Sunflower Lanyard, and learn how to handle interactions with a person who has chosen to make the invisible visible. The content and purpose of the training program may vary depending on the specific needs and requirements of the institution or organization.
If you notice a person wearing a Sunflower Lanyard, remember to show a little extra patience and consideration. And help spread the message about its meaning to those around you.
How can I get a Sunflower lanyard?
On the official website of the Sunflower Program, a range of different products and variations of the Sunflower lanyard can be found. These products include standard Sunflower lanyards for both adults and children, as well as the Sunflower lanyard along with an accompanying Sunflower card, where name, phone number, contact person, and any special needs can be noted on the back. In addition, the website also offers a range of other related products, such as luggage straps for suitcases, hats, and silicone wristbands. Further information about the Sunflower Program can be found on the website, including details about global recognitions of the Sunflower lanyard, opportunities to contribute to spreading the message, as well as information on how to purchase a Sunflower lanyard or other related products; https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/.