Hidden Disabilities: What You Can’t See

One in 7 people globally are living with a disability, and of those disabilities, 80% are invisible. These can be temporary, situational, or permanent. They can be neurological, cognitive, and developmental, as well as physical, visual, and auditory. They also include respiratory, rare diseases, and chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. As diverse as these conditions are, so are the individual needs and barriers people with hidden disabilities face in their daily life. That’s where the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower comes in. The more people understand about non-visible disabilities, the more help can be provided to those who experience them. To raise awareness of the wide range of non-visible disabilities, there are sunflower lanyards that can be worn by those who experience a hidden disability. It indicates to others that they need a little additional support. It’s especially helpful when traveling. Nearly 200 airports worldwide, including 77 in the U.S., participate in the sunflower program. The lanyard alerts airport and airline workers that the person wearing it might need some extra time or assistance. Once you know someone has an invisible disability, you can began learning how to best assist them.