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Government NSW

Sunflowers blossom at Service NSW, helping people with hidden disabilities

Department of Customer Service 2 mins read

People living with non-visible disability such as autism, epilepsy or who are deaf or hard of hearing will be better supported when completing government transactions at Service NSW Centres, with team members completing awareness training. 

Service NSW staff from across the 116 Service NSW Centres have participated in training for the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program to be able to recognise customers wearing a Sunflower pin, wristband or lanyard who might require additional support, time or understanding when transacting such as completing a form or using digital services.

The Sunflower symbol is a discreet and simple way for people to share they live with hidden disability or a medical condition which may not be immediately apparent and may need additional assistance. 

Invisible disabilities include people who live with chronic pain, autism, Alzheimer's, diabetes, dyslexia, epilepsy, long COVID, stuttering, low vision or who are hard of hearing.

Service NSW has liaised with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), the Australian Museum and Transport for NSW to understand the benefits and positive impact that the Sunflower offers. 

About one in five people in Australia live with disability with an estimated 80 per cent of disabilities being invisible. 

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program launched in 2016 has become a recognisable icon for people across the world.  

Customers can find out more about the Sunflower, where to get a lanyard and other Sunflower-friendly locations on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower website

People are also encouraged to visit the Service NSW website to discover other accessibility facilities available at their local centre including Quiet Hour, mobility parking and public transport access.

Quotes attributable to Service NSW Chief Executive Officer Greg Wells: 

Completing government transactions can be challenging for the estimated 25,000 people living with invisible disability who visit a Service Centre each week. This includes people living with autism, anxiety, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“Some people may need extra time or support when navigating forms and digital services or require adjustments when transacting such as a quieter space where available and Service NSW staff are ready to help.”

Wearing the Sunflower symbol is a simple but important way of letting our team members know that you may need extra care or time.

People who need assistance are encouraged to look out for our team members wearing a Sunflower supporter pin.”

Ensuring accessibility of government services for everyone is our priority and we strive to make sure any person who enters the doors at Service NSW feel welcome and supported. 

MEDIA: media@customerservice.nsw.gov.au | 0438 108 797 

VIDEO AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE: Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program (vimeo.com)

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