Today I wanted to write about something that I found out about recently; Sunflower Lanyards. I didn’t know anything about the lanyard or the scheme, but some of my friends who have children with autism had tried it out with success. Since then, I’ve seen the scheme advertised in my local supermarket, so was keen to find out more.
About the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme
The scheme was first launched at Gatwick airport in 2016, when staff wanted extra help recognising those with hidden disabilities in order to offer tailored assistance. The sunflower lanyard is a subtle and dignified way to meet this need. The sunflower symbol itself indicates positivity, cheerfulness and strength.
Anyone with a hidden disability, regardless of age, can wear the sunflower lanyard. The scheme recognises that many of us have disabilities or illnesses that aren’t immediately apparent to others. This could include things like autism, hearing problems, dementia or mental health issues; to name just a few. By wearing the lanyard, a person is letting staff know that they may need extra time or assistance; or just some patience and understanding.
How to get a Sunflower Lanyard
The lanyards are free of charge and available from the customer service desk of participating supermarkets. I like the fact that no proof of disability needs to be shown in order to get one, as this means that those currently undergoing diagnosis are not excluded. A lanyard can be worn by the disabled person or their carer.
As the scheme becomes more popular, more places will recognise and accept the sunflower lanyards and understand what they mean. Hopefully this will also result in staff receiving appropriate training in order to accommodate the needs of visitors with hidden disabilities.
I think the sunflower lanyards are a fantastic idea and hope that families like mine affected by autism, anxiety and other hidden conditions are able to make good use of this new and exciting resource.