Making the invisible visible as Wodonga TAFE joins The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative
Wednesday, 6 July 2022
Wodonga TAFE is excited to be one of the first training providers in Wodonga, Victoria, to begin its involvement with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative. All Staff at Wodonga TAFE have completed necessary training to help recognise the Sunflower, gain a deeper understanding of what non-visible disabilities are and learn how to approach and support colleagues and students that are living with a non-visible disability. This may be simply asking if they require help or offering support.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower was established 2016 in the UK and is dedicated to helping businesses identify customers with a non-visible disability. In Australia and New Zealand 1 in 5 people are said to have a disability, 80% of these are not immediately obvious. www.hiddendisabilitiesshop.com.au/au/about.
Some examples include autism, anxiety, chronic pain, dementia or learning difficulties to name a few. Students studying at Wodonga TAFE can choose to wear the Sunflower in the form of a lanyard or wristband to discreetly indicate to teachers and staff that they need additional support, help, understanding or even a little more time.
Paul Power, National Disability Coordination Officer at Wodonga TAFE says “Living with a hidden disability can often mean facing barriers in everyday life. It can be difficult for others to recognise, acknowledge or understand the challenges faced by someone living with an invisible disability.” “Bringing the initiative to Wodonga TAFE will allow for staff to support Sunflower wearers based on their specific invisible disabilities, and I believe that the Sunflower can have a huge impact empowering people to feel comfortable in discussing the barriers they face.”
Adopting The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative is another way we can continue to make our organisation safe, supportive, and respectful for all. CEO of Wodonga TAFE Phil Paterson says “We actively support an inclusive culture where people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, sexuality, gender, age, and abilities are respected and celebrated. We are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for staff, students, and the broader community.”