Stop non-disabled people from obtaining sunflower lanyards for mask wearing exemption

Stop non-disabled people from obtaining sunflower lanyards for mask wearing exemption

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Catherine Leggett started this petition to The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited

Many non-disabled people are obtaining sunflower lanyards, with or without an accompanying notice declaring they are exempt from wearing a mask, with the sole intention of indicating to others that they are exempt from wearing a mask - whilst having no genuine reason for wearing a lanyard such as needing to 'discreetly indicate to people around you including staff, colleagues and health professionals that you may need additional support, help or a little more time'.

This has meant that there is now an increasingly widespread misunderstanding that the lanyard simply means that you are exempt from wearing a face covering.

The recognition, that the lanyard means the wearer has an invisible disability and may need additional support, help or time is being eroded.

Examples of people with hidden disabilities include (but is not limited to) deaf, learning disabled and autistic people, as well as those with disabling mental health conditions.

The recognition that the lanyard was gaining in the service, health, retail and travel sectors was beginning to provide a lifeline to those that either find it difficult to articulate, or need to signal discretely, that they need additional support, help or time in these settings.

For example, an autistic person who doesn't look visibly disabled may be wearing discrete ear defenders from intrusive store music or background noise and not be able to hear speech or questions from store staff, health, security or service professionals and need instant recognition that adjustments for communication are needed. They may also be taking a long time to move around, or stimming because they are overwhelmed and need instant awareness from others that their behaviour is normal for them.

The lanyard should be a game changer for many, giving them more freedom and reassurance to live more independently, but there is a troubling take-over of the sunflower lanyard by mask exempt, non-disabled people.

The message on The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited website, about who should obtain the lanyard, is not clear enough to inform non-disabled people that they should not obtain a lanyard simply for the purposes of indicating that they are exempt from wearing a mask.

The organisation should remove the mask exempt product from their range and update the training and advice they offer to organisations, such as supermarkets,  that provide the lanyard free to the general public.

Indeed, in many supermarkets, it is the staff themselves that are abusing the scheme.

This would be the best solution for those that rely on the correct recognition of what the lanyard means.

Alternatively, the organisation should instead offer a mask exempt lanyard with a different colour strap, so that people can make a distinction between disabled people and non-disabled mask exempt people.

It is important that this action is taken so that the disabled community can reclaim the sunflower lanyard and the accompanying recognition of what the lanyard means, to be able to live better lives.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!