Travelling with Hidden Disabilities – ‘Sunflower Lanyard’

Multiple UK airports including Bristol Airport have adopted a scheme to support passengers who have a hidden condition or disability. By using the sunflower lanyard, passengers who are autistic, have ADHD, dementia, a visual impairment, or other condition, can discretely show staff they may need additional assistance during their journey without having to verbally disclose to staff.

First introduced at Gatwick Airport, over 10,000 lanyards have been collected to date. The lanyards which are free, have been such a success, they are now also recognised by some other transport provider (including LNER), and in February 2019 some Sainsbury’s and Tesco supermarkets began extending the scheme across some of their stores. 

Great Western Hospital in Swindon was the first hospital in the UK to pilot the scheme in a hospital.

Lanyards can be requested free from participating organisations, usually at their customer service desk, or special assistance desk in airports. For more information about the scheme and where they are recognised, simply use click here.

Information on the Bristol Airport website is as follows:

Following the launch of the lanyard scheme at UK airports, Bristol Airport has worked with OCS Group and local Dementia, Autism and Alzheimer charities to develop a Hidden disabilities assistance card. 

The card acts as a discreet sign to airport staff to identify passengers who may need additional support or assistance as they travel through the airport. 

OCS Group has also worked with Thumbs Up World Ltd to produce a booklet containing useful information for passengers with hidden disabilities. 

The booklet provides a clear guide on what to expect at the airport with photographs of each area.  It also contains space for passengers to record their own specific needs or any questions they may have along with emergency medical and contact information. You can download the booklet here

A video of the guide has been developed by Thumbs Up World UK as an additional resource for passengers. You can watch the video here

Hidden disabilities assistance cards, lanyards and booklets are available on request at the OCS desk