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Talk: Sunflower lanyards

Discreet assistance for people with hidden disabilities

Hidden disabilities are not immediately obvious. That includes people with multiple sclerosis, autism, dementia, or anxiety, heart conditions, Parkinson's, Crohn's Disease, and those who have visual or hearing impairment.

Not everyone with hidden disabilities requires assistance. But if they do, and if they want to, they can wear a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard. It discreetly indicates that they may need additional support, or just a little more time, without having to declare it.

The lanyard has become the established symbol for hidden disabilities in the UK, adopted by most major UK airports, supermarkets, railway stations and sports venues.

We're launching it in Hursley at this year's Festival, for our employees and visitors, before extending it across other IBM sites.

Speaker Carol Ward is a manager in IBM's Early Experience Programs team. In January 2018, she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, and symptoms that now affect her breathing and mobility. It's not immediately obvious to an onlooker that her incurable disease limits how she lives and works. 

Carol has seen the effectiveness of the Sunflower Lanyard scheme for herself. She now champions for its adoption by IBM, and will speak of her experience.

If you would like a Sunflower Lanyard, we're happy to provide them on the day to visitors at this year's Festival.


IBM UK Lab Campus, Hursley,
Winchester, Hampshire,
SO21 2JN
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