Hidden Disabilities

CSULB is Embracing the Sunflower as a Symbol of Hidden Disabilities on Campus

If you see a student wearing a sunflower or some of the Elbee and the Sunflower items, know they are a person with a hidden disability and may need a little extra help.

Read more to learn about what a Hidden Disability is, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, and some do’s and don’ts.

Hidden disabilities are invisible disabilities. In other words, disabilities exist, but the conditions are either visible or non-visible. They can be physical, mental, or neurological, and their conditions significantly affect daily activities such as studying, working, shopping, and transportation. Although there are challenges, people with hidden disabilities can function actively in their schools, work places, families, or hobbies. However, they need understanding, support, and a helping hand from others so that they can achieve their goals in life.

The sunflower has become a symbol for people with hidden disabilities. Many European Airports have adopted the use of a green lanyard with sunflowers as a symbol to airport staff of a person with a hidden disability; read more on the BBC’s digital platform The Social. Wearing the sunflower as a symbol of a hidden disability also allows people with a hidden disability to disclose they have a hidden disability without having to say what the disability is.

Alzheimer’s, aphasia, asthma, autism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes (type 1 and 2), dyslexia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, endometriosis, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, functional neurological disorder, hemophilia, long-Covid, lupus, migraine, multiple sclerosis, myalgic encephalopathy, narcolepsy, Parkinson’s, scleroderma, stuttering, and Tourette Syndrome.

DO's DON'T's
Do use Person First Language. Don’t label (e.g., deaf man, blind woman).
Do ask before you assist, and respect the answer you receive. Don’t assume a person needs help or try to assist without their permission.
Do focus on the person, not their disability or assistive devices. Don’t touch assistive devices or service dogs without asking first.
Be supportive and respectful. Don’t think of disability as a tragedy or problem.
Do recognize that some disabilities are invisible. Don’t assume the absence of disability if you don’t see one.
Do offer resources and remove barriers. Don’t impose limitations or assume what a person with a disability can or cannot do.
Do relax and be yourself. Don’t pity or admire.

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