Not all disabilities are visible – some are hidden and not immediately obvious, such as learning difficulties, mental health as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments. Living with a hidden disability can make daily life more demanding for many people, but it can be difficult for others to identify, acknowledge or understand the challenges you face.
Be visible when you want to be
Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around you including staff, colleagues and health professionals that you may need additional support, help or a little more time.
Many of us have probably heard of the disability employment gap - the gap that exists between the percentage of all people employed, 81.3%*, and the percentage of disabled people in employment, currently 52.1%*. That's a big disparity, right. What you may not be aware of is just how wide the gap gets when you look at the statistics for people on the autism spectrum. According to the Office for National Statistics' Outcomes for disabled people in the UK report, only 21.7% of people with autism are in any form of employment, the lowest employment rate of any disability category. That's not a gap, that's a chasm.
Back in January, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower appeared on the BBC's WatchDog when the consumer rights programme investigated the issue of counterfeit lanyard resellers on digital market places such as Amazon and eBay. The illegal and unethical selling and reselling of the Sunflower products is an issue we have been aware of for some time and something that we naturally want to end. But now things have taken a more sinister turn, as we have uncovered a counterfeit lanyard that is being produced without the essential breakaway needed to ensure that the lanyard cannot become a choking hazard.
World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. This year the World Health Organisation has decided upon the theme 'Hearing care for all!' to raise awareness of how hearing loss can be prevented through protection against loud sounds, good ear-care practices and immunisation. Hearing can also be rehabilitated, if caught early and appropriate care and treatment is sought. World Hearing Day serves as a reminder to all that are at risk of hearing loss to make sure that they attend regular hearing checks with a health care provider.
We are thrilled to announce that the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower has today launched in the Netherlands and Belgium, our first stronghold in mainland Europe.
This means that people living with a hidden disability in these regions will now have easier access to the Sunflower. With both a local representative and a dedicated, country specific website, which can be accessed in Dutch, we are better equipped to support both our Sunflower wearers and the organisations that support the initiative in these areas.
Following on from the success of our Sunflower Stories video series, we've launched a new podcast – the Sunflower Conversations.
The Sunflower Conversations delve into the depths of the issue being discussed and offers an understanding of the Sunflower's role in supporting people with hidden disabilities. Our hosts discussions with our guests not only offer a personal account of disability, disposing of myths and correcting public perception, but they also expose the affect that disability can have on education, employment and relationships.
This is a wonderful scheme, I have been a carer for people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's,
Airports and any crowded situations can be totally overwhelming. When on medication they are
more in control but it does wear off and procedures at airports can be lengthy, thank you so
much for giving these people a chance again to travel!
Jane recommends Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyards Scheme®
I think it is a positive move for both adults and children with
hidden disabilities and apparent disadvantages that people take for granted. Brilliant idea.
Donna recommends Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyards Scheme®
Excellent idea so other travellers understand Airports can be
stressful for autistic people Specially the amount of people along with confusion and noise.
I am now able to travel without fear.