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Breaking barriers: Embracing inclusion in learning environments

By Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Raising awareness Share

In every country, children and young adults with disabilities are less likely than non-disabled children and young adults to leave the education system with qualifications. The academic outcomes for students with disabilities can improve by working together to strengthen disability inclusion in education.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower not only allows students and staff to indicate to those around them that they have a non-visible disability and may require understanding, additional help or a bit more time, but it also helps transform the school culture, challenge students' mindsets and the perception of disability.

The education system plays a crucial role in shaping the future of children and young adults. However, studies have shown that students with disabilities are often left behind and face numerous barriers to academic achievement.

One of the main challenges faced by students with disabilities is the lack of proper accommodations and support within schools. This can lead to isolation, frustration, and a lack of motivation to pursue their education. As a result, many students with disabilities do not receive the necessary qualifications upon leaving the education system. But there is hope for change. By working together to strengthen disability inclusion in education, we can improve the academic outcomes for students with disabilities. And one way to do this is through The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

The Sunflower - a small symbol with a big impact

This simple yet powerful symbol makes waves in the education system, providing a visual cue to educators that a student may have a hidden disability. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower was initially launched for individuals with invisible disabilities to discreetly indicate that they may need additional support, understanding, or more time. But it has since evolved into an inclusive symbol for hidden disabilities, including learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and chronic conditions.

Using the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower in schools allows students and their community to feel more comfortable and confident in expressing their needs. The Sunflower acts as a conversation starter between students, their families, teachers and the wider community, creating an opportunity for open communication about how best to support each student.

But it's not just about raising awareness.

The use of the Sunflower also promotes inclusion and understanding among peers. Seeing the Sunflower in classrooms and on school grounds can help break down stigmas and stereotypes surrounding hidden disabilities.

In addition, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower serves as a visual reminder for teachers to be more mindful of their student's needs and provide appropriate accommodations. This can lead to better academic performance and well-being for students with hidden disabilities.

We are working with schools, universities, colleges and our partners worldwide to make education at every level inclusive.

In the UAE:

Nurturing an empathetic educational ecosystem

Brazil Solidário embeds the Sunflower symbol within the training provided to public education network educators. Instituto Brasil Solidário aims to promote inclusivity and raise awareness within its communities. The project will involve training employees and volunteers to better serve individuals with hidden conditions or disabilities.

From vocational workshops to community empowerment

 

 

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote inclusivity and support individuals with non-visible disabilities, Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) was approved as an exclusive centre for the manufacture and production of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyards in the Gulf Cooperation Council states (GCC region).  ZHO’s members of determination now manufacture the Sunflower lanyards at ZHO's vocational rehabilitation workshops. ZHO's vision is to empower People of Determination through education and training to ensure the wider community is inclusive. 

Packaged with purpose

Two people smiling at a counter

As part of their skill development in employment training, the Bayley House clients with intellectual disabilities pack orders for Sunflower customers. As a for-purpose organisation with experience spanning seventy years, Bayley House is passionate about supporting adults with intellectual disabilities to develop their unique capabilities and live rich and meaningful lives. The vibrant Bayley House community brings passion and commitment to disability advocacy, skills development, independence and self-determination.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower extends beyond education

Many businesses, airports, public transportation, and other public places have also adopted the symbol to promote inclusivity and accessibility. By wearing or displaying the sunflower logo, individuals with hidden disabilities can feel more comfortable asking for assistance.

The sunflower has truly become a global symbol of inclusion and support. This widespread recognition of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower shows that society is becoming more accepting of hidden disabilities.

But there's still a long way to go. Many people with hidden disabilities continue to face challenges and discrimination daily. That's why we all need to educate ourselves on hidden disabilities and support those who live with them.

So next time you see someone wearing or displaying the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, remember that they may face barriers that are not immediately visible. Show kindness and understanding, and help create a more inclusive world for everyone. And if you or someone you know has a hidden disability,

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