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Taronga Zoo launches Sunflower Hidden Disability Scheme

2 September 2022

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Capped at 200 guests, Access Taronga will open 8:30am for registered guests and features a Seal Show Presentation at 9am. You can then spend as long as you are comfortable at the zoo after it opens to the wider public at 9:30am. Aspect staff will be on site to provide support if needed and to hand out Sunflower lanyards to those who would like one.

Access Taronga events are held on select days throughout the year, inviting visitors on the autism spectrum and their family or friends to enjoy the peace and quiet of the zoo before it opens to other guests.

This month the zoo will be holding two Access Taronga days:

The Sunflower Hidden Disabilities Scheme is an internationally recognised program, originating in the UK, that allows people with hidden disabilities to become visible to those around them by wearing the lanyard. This is helpful because hidden disabilities, including autism often don’t have physical signs. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Australians have a disability, and approximately 80-90% of these are hidden disabilities.

Rebecca McCash, a Sunflower Disability Project Officer, said the Sunflower Lanyard lets others know that you, or someone you are with, may need additional support, understanding or time for processing information.

“It also reminds us to be non-judgemental, friendly and helps to break down barriers for inclusion.

“We are really excited about the new program launching at Taronga Zoo, their enthusiasm for inclusion has been fantastic. We have been busy with Kerry training staff in recognising the Sunflower symbol and how to support those wearing one,” McCash said

Aspect is partnering with Bayley House in Australia to deliver the Sunflower Hidden Disabilities Program in Australia.

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