Hidden disabilities: what do the sunflower lanyards mean?

You may have noticed someone wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, which is commonly displayed using a green lanyard patterned with sunflowers. This article will give you more information on the sunflowers and let you know who's entitled to one.
sunflower lanyard

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is an initiative started by Tabbers Limited, a private company, and is recognised nationwide by many supermarkets, public venues, and emergency services. Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer including staff, colleagues and health professionals that they need additional support, help or a little more time. 

Without a visual cue, it can be difficult for others to identify, acknowledge, or understand the daily challenges faced by people living with a hidden disability. By wearing a sunflower, people with hidden disabilities can signpost to others around them that they may have additional needs.

What is a hidden disability?

A hidden disability is a disability that may not be immediately obvious. They don't have physical signs and include learning difficulties, mental health as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments. They can also include asthma, COPD, and other lung conditions as well as chronic illnesses such as renal failure, diabetes, and sleep disorders when those diseases significantly impact day-to-day life.

For example, not every person with mobility issues uses a wheelchair, not every person with a visual disability uses a cane, and not every person with a hearing disability uses a hearing aid.

Living with these conditions can make daily life more demanding for many people. They affect each person in different ways and can be painful, exhausting, and isolating. Without visible evidence of the hidden disability, it is frequently difficult for others to acknowledge the challenges faced and as a consequence, sympathy and understanding can often be in short supply.

Do I qualify for a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower?

There is NO qualifying list of hidden disabilities. If you have a hidden disability and feel that you would benefit from wearing a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower product, please do. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower does not entitle you to anything other than showing others that you have a hidden disability and that you may need some assistance, help, or a little more time. It is NOT a pass to be fast-tracked nor for any other benefit.

Where can I get one?

If you would like a lanyard and/or badge, including badges specific to your hidden disability, you can purchase one from the Hidden Disabilities store for 55 pence: https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/shop.html

Sunflower Lanyards are also available free of charge to customers from businesses and organisations who are members of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower; you can also pick up a lanyard at Manchester Picadilly, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street station.

If you are an unpaid carer, you can contact Wigan & Leigh Carers Centre for a free lanyard:

info@wlcccarers.com

01942 705959

How can I support Hidden Disabilities Sunflowers?

You can share information about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower with local organisations and businesses that you regularly visit. Encourage them to visit their website and to acknowledge the scheme - they have awareness posters and digital signatures on their website which you can download for free and either print at home, or add to your email or social media pages.

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