Thank goodness for…

Today I wanted to write about something which I’ve certainly not talked about as much as many other things. The power of… A lanyard!!!

Who would’ve thought it, a simple bit of ribbon type material could play such a massive difference in helping those with hidden disabilities.

Certain supermarkets have the procedure in place and have sunflower patterned lanyards. I think this is helpful as they are more visible with the pattern on them, therefore people will be able to assist anyone when the need is there.

Lanyards are also given to people with hidden disabilities at airports too. Though more discreetly coloured, it’s still a good idea and as long as the people in the airport can identify people with hidden disabilities, this is great.

People in an airport may need help with certain information regarding their flight and being given information about the area for departures so that you aren’t in a mad panic about things when it gets closer to the time. If you’re like me, you’d be taking the couple of hours before a flight to relax and have a walk round some of the shops to pass time. By wearing a lanyard, this would help all parties in these situations as you’re more likely to be understood if there was a problem.

The same applies to a supermarket really. Sometimes it’s the mad panic of forgetting things even if I’m certain of the things I need. Sometimes it’s trying to find the best deals for products within my budget which becomes the challenging bit. I’m very slow to see deals like one which included a subscription of some kind to Now TV with a video game I got. I was just too caught up in the moment to realise this but was also focused on the task at hand, which at the time, was to actually stock up on my favourite “breakfast fruits” (the video game was just a bonus).

Sensory overload can also be an issue in supermarkets for some people. Something which I’ve experienced the odd time but not regularly.

My main issue is standing around for ages wanting to ask someone a question a typical person would find easy to ask such as “I was wandering when you will have the next issue of this magazine in stock as the newest issue was released 2 days ago and the previous issue is still on the shelf.” The reason I find this difficult is I feel like when I say this, I feel like I’m criticising them, which is something I really don’t want to do and something I want to learn a lot more about is the art of communication.

Because communication is an art. And some people paint a masterpiece with this. But it’s not always easy for people. And again, wearing the lanyards that supermarkets have available helps people like me to feel a little more at ease when approaching someone to ask something rather than feel like a waste of space.

Next comes the education. People who work in such environments that I’ve mentioned will obviously have extensive training into hidden disabilities. But the thing is, these things are different for everyone. Some people like me who have Dyspraxia will find it easy to ask a question. Because they’re solution focused and know that without asking you won’t get.

Some of my breed will feel too anxious when in situations to ask a question because they feel like they are wasting someone’s time when maybe certain answers seem clear as the light of day. That… Or, because we wish for people to not be disturbed doing a job because I definitely do not like being disturbed or distracted from my routine.

I guess in some ways it’s showing the empathy to people who may have been in similar situations themselves, under pressure to get something done. Except, what people in a supermarket are doing is more important because, essentially, their life could depend on it. And for that I have a lot of respect.

So, personally, I’d love to try and explain to people in these environments what my personal story with Dyspraxia is and how it might potentially affect me in said environment. The way I would choose to do this is to attach my Dyspraxia keyring card onto the lanyard to show.

The biggest problem for me, is that anyone could go into a supermarket and say “could I have a lanyard please?” Of course, people in said environment pretty much have to trust people, otherwise, as I said, the thing people potentially depend on could be taken away from them. Ultimately, it comes down to trust and also respect. Because, it’s up to the people to trust a recipient of a lanyard that they do in fact have a hidden disability and aren’t lying about it. Because… Believe me… I’m sure some people would and it pains me to say of course it does.

But once an owner of a lanyard, it would be good to see respect given and also some education would be great to see as well. I don’t look at the situation and think about vulnerability, because this is the start of something positive to help understanding of these things rise to new heights. I’d hate to think people wearing a lanyard, if they try to educate people about it, would be ridiculed for doing so.

I guess it’s the big question to be asked. How do we as a society push the right buttons to make it a world where people with hidden disabilities can educate people if they so choose to and not be labelled as vulnerable for sharing information. Well… How on earth are we going to get that support with sharing things. Sharing is caring… Right?

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