What is a Sunflower Lanyard?
By: Philippa Harrington, On: 20 December 2019
First used at Gatwick Airport, the Sunflower Lanyard is now a nationally recognised symbol. Beyond that, it’s even being recognised in other countries around the world! But what is the Sunflower Lanyard, and who can wear one?
What is the Sunflower Lanyard?
The Sunflower Lanyard is a green lanyard that’s decorated, as you might expect, with yellow sunflowers. Raising awareness of hidden disabilities, this lanyard is a sign that the wearer might need some extra support.
The Sunflower Lanyard isn’t for any specific disability, and you don’t need a formal diagnosis to get hold of one. Nobody should ask you for evidence, which means that you can buy a Sunflower Lanyard (or get one for free) if you think that the lanyard can help you.
There are no official requirements for using a Sunflower Lanyard. They’re used by people with diabetes, anxiety, chronic pain, autism, dementia, hearing impairments, epilepsy, ADHD, learning disabilities and Crohn’s, to name but a few. If you have a disability that isn’t immediately obvious, then you might want a Sunflower Lanyard.
What might the Sunflower Lanyard help with?
The Sunflower Lanyard doesn’t tell anyone what disabilities you have. It also doesn’t tell them exactly how they can help. Someone with Autism might need lights turned down, or somewhere quiet to escape to. Someone with arthritis might instead need extra time for physical movement.
The lanyard is designed to give others the heads up to ask what could help you in terms of additional support and to give you confidence to ask for support too. As the wearer, you’re the only person that knows what you might need.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people about your disability, then you can attach an ID card to the end of your lanyard. This card can contain details about your condition, and information about what you need.
You can wear the lanyard if you have a hidden disability, or on behalf of somebody that does. Parents might choose to wear the lanyards for their children, or carers for the person that they’re with.
Where can I get a Sunflower Lanyard?
Sunflower Lanyards can be purchased online from the Hidden Disabilities Store. Here, they’re sold at low prices along with many other Sunflower accessories.
There are many other places where you can get a lanyard free of charge. These include supermarkets like M&S and Sainsbury’s, shops like Argos, and most UK airports.
Who recognises the Sunflower Lanyard?
Though it started in airports, the Sunflower Lanyard has quickly grown in popularity. Now it’s recognised by many of the largest UK retailers, as well as hundreds of smaller shops and businesses. There are even independent barbers on board!
The Sunflower Lanyard is recognised by intu shopping centres, Knowsley Safari Park and a whole host of other attractions. And, the number of companies that recognise the lanyard is growing week by week.
What support might I get?
Many people choose to wear the lanyard just for the awareness it brings. They don’t need extra help but want people to be understanding. The Sunflower Lanyard helps to stop judgemental looks when someone is struggling in public.
The lanyard can also be used to request support from staff in shopping centres, airports, and other restaurants. Staff should be trained in recognising the lanyard and being flexible to meet someone’s needs.
At airports, this might mean the chance to board the plane early. That way, people with hidden disabilities can avoid the worst of the crowds. It might mean the option of being taken to a quiet room at a busy family attraction, or the chance to sit down and rest instead of standing in a long queue. Supports might include someone to walk around and shop with you, to help you find what you need. You might want someone to give you clearer directions, or access to a staff toilet.
Should I wear my Sunflower Lanyard all the time?
Some people choose to wear their Sunflower Lanyard every day. That way, they’re raising awareness. This can be useful if your disability is unpredictable, or if you would always benefit from a little extra help and support.
Other people wear the lanyard only when they feel that they will need it. They use it only when they’re shopping, or just when they’re waiting at their airport. You can keep your lanyard in a bag and put it on when you feel that you might need some extra assistance.
Where can I find out more about the Sunflower Lanyard?
To find out more about the Sunflower Lanyard, visit the Hidden Disabilities Store.
You can also visit the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyards Scheme Facebook page.