Individuals living with disabilities often require extra support for day-to-day tasks, but if their disability is not visible, it can be difficult to spot. Thankfully, there exists a fantastic initiative – the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower – which is designed to make non-visible disabilities more visible and make it easier for those affected to access the help they need.

What is the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower?

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower acts as a prompt for someone to choose to let people around them know they have an invisible disability and that they may need a helping hand, understanding, or simply more time.

 Who can use the Sunflower and why?

Wearing the Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer including staff, colleagues and health professionals that they need additional support, help or a little more time.

The Sunflower is open to anyone who feels they would benefit from wearing a lanyard. This includes people with conditions such as anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder, chronic pain, dementia, and many others. Ultimately, anyone who feels they would benefit from using the scheme is welcome to do so.

There are many reasons why someone might want to use the Sunflower. For some people, it may be a way to reduce anxiety in stressful situations such as travel or hospital visits. For others, it may be a way to facilitate communication and reduce feeling overwhelmed in social situations. Ultimately, each person will have their own individual reason for wanting to use the scheme.

What are non-visible disabilities?

There are a lot of misconceptions about disabilities – that they’re all visible, or that you have to be born with them. But there are many types of disabilities that are not visible to the naked eye. These are known as ‘non-visible’ or ‘invisible’ disabilities.

Non-visible disabilities can include conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and fatigue. They can also include learning differences like dyslexia and ADHD. Many people with invisible disabilities use assistive technology to help them cope with their condition.


How can the Sunflower help people with non-visible disabilities?

Since the Sunflower was established in the UK in 2016, it has been adopted globally by organisations to support both their colleagues and customers. The scheme allows people to wear a sunflower lanyard or badge, which signals to others that they may need some extra assistance or understanding.

It was developed in response to feedback from people with non-visible disabilities, who often feel anxious or uncomfortable when out in public places. It can be difficult for people with non-visible disabilities to communicate their needs, and the Sunflower provides a simple and effective way to do this.

The Sunflower is now recognised across a broad range of sectors – ranging from retail, financial services, transport including airlines and airports, travel and tourism as well as universities, schools and colleges, all of the UK railway network, theme parks, supermarkets, leisure facilities, healthcare, financial services, emergency services, theatres and over 350 charities.

The Sunflower has been launched locally in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK, the UAE and the USA.

Businesses in countries like France, Norway and Lithuania have recently introduced the Sunflower.

Above all, it is used anywhere where people meet.

How to acquire a Sunflower lanyard and benefit from it?






Businesses and organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand may subscribe to become a member – Standard, Professional or Corporate level, gain access to the awareness videos which are only 12 minutes long to have employees watch and then become a Sunflower Friendly destination!

Hidden Disabilities feels that it is important that everyone who has a hidden disability and who would benefit from wearing a lanyard is able to access one.

Sunflower lanyards are available free of charge to customers from businesses and organisations who are members of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. As some people may be unable to travel to collect a free Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard or would prefer to have them delivered, you can order directly from

Other ways you can show your support

There are lots of other ways you can show your support for people with non-visible disabilities. Here are a few ideas:

  •       Educate yourself and others about different types of disabilities and how to accommodate them.
  •       Be an advocate for inclusive policies and practices in your workplace, school, or community.
  •       Make sure you’re using inclusive language when talking about disability – for example, using person-first language (e.g., “person with a disability” instead of “disabled person”).
  •       Be patient and understanding if someone with a non-visible disability is having a difficult day or isn’t able to do something you’ve asked them to do.
  •       Offer help and assistance where you can, but always respect the person’s right to decline if they don’t want or need your help.


The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower has been a trailblazer in shining light on those who are dealing with what are often considered ‘invisible’ disabilities. It can be difficult to express and manage the symptoms of such conditions without being judged or misunderstood, so this initiative serves as an invaluable platform through which sufferers may find understanding and acceptance.

If you know someone affected by a non-visible disability, it would be great if you could spread awareness around the Sunflower scheme in order to help them live their life with ease and dignity.


Scleroderma Australia is pleased to be working with Hidden Disabilities and we wish to support members as much as we can! 

The Sunflower will bloom everywhere in support.