Today marks Purple Tuesday, a day dedicated to improving customer experience for disabled people and their families all year round. The initiative is designed to help organisations become better, more accessible for those living with both visible and hidden disabilities. Each organisation who participates will make a minimum of one commitment to change for the better, to improve accessibility.
We work with people who are predominantly living with long term conditions, injuries and disabilities. Whilst largely these involve using a walking stick, crutches or combination of mobility aids, often there are more than visible disabilities at play. For our Co Founder Amelia and many of our customers, the hidden disabilities they live with, are as significant as the visible. Recent research also confirms they are not alone and that over the last 6 years hidden disability diagnoses have increased 63%. With this in mind, it's quite overwhelming to see how much of the focus around accessibility remains focused on the visible elements.
As a business, we are committed to helping the disabled community as a whole, by raising awareness and driving change around disability perception for those living both with, or without disabilities. So, to celebrate Purple Tuesday we want to share our top tips for supporting all disabilities, regardless of visibility:
Raising awareness of hidden disabilities
Talking about the invisible as much as the visible, ensuring people understand how to be aware and mindful in day to day life of all disabilities. One fantastic initiative and product we love is the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard which you can buy here. It is a universally recognised lanyard worn round your neck which will immediately indicate a disability. They are particularly brilliant for people living with learning difficulties who may find communication a challenge. Find out more about the Sunflower Lanyard here.
Providing accessible services and support
75% of disabled customers have, at one time, left a shop, hotel, restaurant or website without purchasing due to poor access and/or customer service. From adopting the six second rule, allowing neurodivergent people additional time to process information and respond, to understanding the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard and providing staff training around disability, huge improvements could be made.
Creating a more inclusive society for people with disabilities
Across the board, awareness and education has the biggest impact. Talking and training about all disabilities openly can and does create a culture of confidence. By increasing understanding and awareness we all know the way disabilities are perceived and treated can and will change. Ensuring all workplaces are accessible, schools inclusive and negative attitudes around disability challenged will improve access.
The reality is, many people are not familiar with hidden disabilities, which can lead to misunderstanding and discrimination. It is important to raise awareness of these conditions so that people can better understand and support those who are affected.
If you're reading this wondering how you can help, please talk about all disabilities - the sunflower lanyard, neurodiversity, mental health or anything you have a good understanding of, chat to people about it. A conversation at work or with a friend may seem small but could genuinely improve someone's life!
To find out more about Purple Tuesday please visit, https://purpletuesday.co/
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