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Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard

Wearing a Sunflower lanyard (or lapel pin or bracelet) is a way for someone with a hidden disability (e.g., individuals with dementia, autism spectrum, hearing deficits, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, speech difficulties, general aging-related decline, etc.) to discretely self-identify as someone who might require extra assistance, a bit of patience and/or more time from staff or colleagues. Wearing the Sunflower does not entitle anyone to special privileges.

Anyone can get a free Sunflower item from participating businesses or services. Businesses and service providers who participate in the Sunflower program donate the Sunflower lanyards to customers who request them. The employees of the participating businesses or services are trained to provide special assistance to people wearing the Sunflower.

Details about the Sunflower are available at www.hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/us

 and https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/us/ourhistory.

Personal stories about the value of wearing the Sunflower are found at https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/blog/category/sunflower-stories  

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower originated for use in airports, but in the UK, the Sunflower is now recognized in many sectors: transportation (all major UK airports, buses, trains), retail services, financial services, National Health Service clinics, football leagues, etc.

As of the beginning of 2021, at least 10 major airports in the US participate in the Sunflower program. In contrast to the UK, airports are the only US sector currently participating in this program. The Dementia-Friendly Airports Working Group (DFAWG), based in Minnesota, believes that the greater use for this program is to increase hidden disability awareness and civil behavior in the general population. To this end, DFAWG has begun to identify US business and service sectors that might participate in this program, and allies in the hidden disabilities communities who might assist with these requests.

On January 11, 2021, DFAWG submitted a request to the Target Corporation to adopt the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program. Target was selected because it is a national retailer with demonstrated dedication to diversity and inclusion. Target has stores in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Seventy five percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Target store. DFAWG thinks that Target’s adoption of the Sunflower Program would be a game changer for recognition of and civility towards people living with hidden disabilities.

If you agree with this position, please send an email to the Target Corporation Corporate Responsibility Team at CorporateResponsibility@target.com

Please address the following in your email:

a.) Identify yourself, your organization, and your location.

b.) State your support for this effort.

c.) Explain your reasons for supporting this effort.

If you are interested in becoming an ally in the effort to expand the adoption of the Sunflower Program in more sectors of US society, please send an email to dementiafriendlyairports@gmail.com  with the Subject: Sunflower Allies

Please include the following in your email:

a.) Identify yourself, your organization, and your location.

b.) State your support for this effort.

c.) Explain your reasons for supporting this effort.

Sara Barsel, Aging Activist

Submitted by Aging Activist Sara Barsel, Ph.D. Dementia-Friendly Airports Working Group, organizer, Actively, working to improve travel conditions for people living with dementia and their care partners. www.dementiafriendlyairports.com

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