Bright Side

What It Means If You See Someone Wearing a Sunflower Lanyard

Security measures at airports are very strict and can make journeys pretty stressful for many people, especially for those who may need extra assistance. This is the case of a mother of a little child with a hidden disability. Through a simple gesture, she made this situation visible and accomplished something amazing, not only for her family, but also for all those people who have to travel by plane at some point in their lives.

We at Bright Side admire this family’s great achievement in making the world a better place and becoming an inspiration for all the moms and dads out there.

Spearheading a movement toward understanding

Kim Baker went on vacation with her family to Spain in June of last year. Her little one has autism, so she decided to wear a peculiar symbol to inform staff about her son’s special needs or any situation that might arise during the flight. Kim wore a green lanyard with sunflowers and this has been one of the best decisions she ever made.

A call to empathy

This decision made her trip different, as she shared with her friends in a Facebook post. A security guard at Malaga airport saw the lanyard around her neck and escorted them straight through to special assistance, so that they didn’t have to stand in line to get through routine security processes. For children with autism, standing in long lines can be impossible. They can have a sensory crisis because they feel overwhelmed, and this initiative allows them to receive help so that they can have a much more pleasant trip.

A growing project

However, as Kim said, this is not a new trend. The creators of this idea were the members of the London Gatwick airport staff who, in 2016, made this accessory a symbol of support for family members of people with a hidden disability, like autism, attention deficit disorder, dementia, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, as well as for those suffering from extreme fear when traveling.

Actions that add up

Gatwick Airport not only transformed this lanyard into a sign for those who travel. In addition, it has a sensory room for people with hidden disabilities. There they can feel safe and distracted after being in an unfamiliar environment, like the airport. Now, more and more airports are successfully adopting the sunflower lanyard idea.

Reaching more places

Now this lanyard is a symbol that is not only used in airports, but also in supermarkets and railway stations, with the aim of alerting staff to any possible need. Kim says that they don’t necessarily want special treatment, but that they’re just seeking a little understanding and empathy for those who have a disability that is not super-obvious. Wearing this lanyard is an excellent start to achieving this.

Making it visible

In order to provide support to parents and relatives of people with disabilities, these lanyards can now be purchased through the Hidden Disabilities Store. They have a page where people can learn more about the lanyard and another page where they share their experiences with this project. The response from airline employees has been very positive and passengers have found real support in them.

What would you add to this initiative so that those who work at airports can better support people with disabilities? Share your ideas in the comments!