Lanyards, so much to say.
Who knew there could be so much to say about lanyards? Brace yourselves…
First & foremost a complete rant. I did not ever expect to be saying this. There are people out there, right now, abusing the use of the hidden disabilities Sunflower Lanyards. Yes, seriously, I’ve heard stories about people admitting (as if it's almost cool, funny, clever, who knows) using them to excuse wearing a face mask that “smudges their makeup”; shop assistants just not wanting to wear masks all day long; others using them to cheat & get fast tracked through airports, concerts etc. I mean are there actually people in this world who do this? People who could be so selfish, so awful, so cruel, so narrow minded? So you what, wanna go out or travel or work literally pretending you have a disability & then when you meet a person with an actual disability you’re all judgemental looks & stares or pity & no eye contact? Yet you’re pretending to be one of them?
How do you think it makes those who actually do need those lanyards for very real reasons beyond anything you could ever imagine? Do you think it’s fun having to walk around wearing one just so that people like you who take no interest in learning nor possess any empathy whatsoever can actually stop judging & so that they/we can actually make it from A to B without serious physical &/or emotional damage/danger? It sickens me so I’ll stop. No-one like this will be reading this blog anyway.
So why do the lanyards help? In the real world where people are you know, mostly human, & care/give a fig, lanyards are used by those who cannot speak for themselves or by those whose disabilities are not visible ie hidden. Their carers & family often wear them too. They are a great visual cue to help others learn, understand & accept but, more importantly they highlight the need for small adjustments and/or extra vigilance in terms of safety.
No-one should have to go about their day to day business enjoying the things they deserve to be enjoying just like everyone else, constantly having to announce their disability to get any attention/assistance/care before they have even said their names or talked about who they are. Lanyards can be a source of comfort, safety & reassurance as well as a sense of belonging & pride. They are also a great conversation starter & for those of us who either live with or are related to a person with a hidden disability, we need to tell our stories - so much misinformation & assumption out there.
Autism Threads aka me (proper one-woman-show this) has had help designing & sourced two lanyards that frankly, I love! I have absolutely no issue with the very well known & well recognised Sunflower Lanyards for all hidden disabilities it’s just that for me & many others I hope 😉, they don’t actually say what the disability is, missing a vital chance to raise awareness & start conversations. From a purely personal fashion point of view I’m not wild about wearing the bright green, yellow & brown lanyard either so, I decided to come up with both an autism specific & more stylish lanyard .
Made from recycled materials; a break away clasp for safety; silky soft texture, & a stunning design by @andfrienddesign with the words “autistic” on one version & “autism aware” on the other. The ID holders attached can hold any form of ID or fun message/picture that the wearer desires. Or, one of the Autism Threads cardholder cards seen above - nudge, nudge; wink, wink 😊. Yes, these lanyards have been & are recognised in airports & other venues.
A French!! border patrol officer recently had the errm privilege of meeting my son Henry who did not speak, made funny noises & struggled with eye contact but, the officer recognised the “autism” on his lanyard & waved us straight through but, not before pulling off his badge from his shirt to give it to Henry! I nearly cried.
To all those parents of autistic people & to those who are autistic, it’s taken me a long time to learn this but, here goes:
Be hopeful that the vast majority of ‘other’ people out there are compassionate, kind & do care, some are even wonderful to meet & have a conversation with. If you focus on the few awful idiots out there who cause so much upset you will only be hurting yourselves & filling with anger & rage. The few often don’t want to learn anyway & why let them drag you down? Remember the good & surprising moments of kindness no matter how seldom, just like we remember & find so much joy in the incredible moments autistic people give us, to have & to hold, always.