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Sunflower lanyard program

Making the invisible visible

Sunflower lanyard with four buttons. Two buttons read she/her, one button reads divergent and the last button is being held and reads I support the sunflower

Living with a non-visible disability can make life difficult for many people.

For others, it can be hard to recognise that those people need extra help or understanding. That’s where the Sunflower program comes in.

Wearing a Sunflower lanyard discreetly indicates to others that the wearer has a hidden disability and may need additional help or maybe just more time and space.

Bayside resident Felicia Andronicou is an advocate and leader in the intersectional youth and disability community, who blogs under the name Divergent Fel.

She proudly identifies as an autistic/neurodivergent young Greek woman with ADHD, learning and psychosocial disabilities. She is also a member of Council’s Disability Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

To acknowledge The International Day of People with a Disability on December 3, Fel shared her take on the Hidden Disability Sunflower Program.

“Everyone’s disability presents differently and the Sunflower lanyard provides a subtle way for a person with a disability to share their identity with the public without being asked.

“If you think a person needs assistance, ask directly what they need, don’t assume what they need.”

Fel says the knowledge of, and discussion about, non-visible disabilities is slowly growing due to lived experiences being shared on social media.

“We have a long way to go but we’ve begun the conversation with people who have lived experience, which is an important step in the right direction.”

Bayley House, which supports people with an intellectual disability to live a full life, is the official partner and distributor of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme for Australia and New Zealand.

We invite residents who have a hidden disability to collect a lanyard and give us feedback.

Sunflower lanyards are available from Council’s Corporate Centre at 76 Royal Avenue Sandringham and Bayside libraries.