Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is leading the introduction of The Hidden Disability Lanyard in Australia.
Did you know that one in five Australians have a disability? And that 80-90 per cent of these disabilities are ‘invisible’, meaning that people can’t tell someone has a disability by looking at them?
For a person with a hidden disability, it can be challenging to get support, complete everyday tasks or access public environments and events. This is mostly because of challenges in the environment (such as loud noises, bright lights or crowds), processes (such as complicated check-ins or queues), and a lack of awareness and understanding in others.
The Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard is an easily recognisable symbol that indicates to people around you that you might need a bit of extra time, support and understanding. Organisations use the Sunflower icon to help people with a hidden disability to become more visible, so they can adjust some of the environment or processes around you, to make you feel more welcome.
The Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard started at Royal Gatwick Airport in London and has since spread across the globe. Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is leading the introduction of this exciting initiative in Australia. The Hidden Disability Sunflower will soon be recognised at all major Australian airports, as well as an ever-growing list of other organisations across the country including Transport NSW, Yarra Trams, Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
These organisations will also act as distributors for the lanyards, for instance, the Sydney Royal Easter Show will have them available in its Quiet Room, while Transport NSW and Yarra Trams will have them at key stations and locations.
While the Hidden Disability Sunflower brings necessary awareness, there is still more that organisations can do to reduce and remove barriers for people with hidden disabilities. Aspect’s Autism Friendly team partners with organisations to make environmental adaptations; develop helpful resources, provide staff training on autism, other hidden disabilities and recognising the sunflower lanyard as well as developing inclusive events and initiatives.
For more info about the Hidden Disability Sunflower lanyard, head to hiddendisabilitiesshop.com.au or autismspectrum.org.au