Readybus supports non-visible disability scheme
It is estimated that by becoming a member of the Sunflower Scheme, Readybus will help tens of thousands of children and adults with non-visible disabilities, including autism and ADHD, be subtly visible when they choose to be. The Berkshire-based coach company, whose owners have an autistic child, will display Sunflower signs on each of its 64 coaches, and all of its drivers will undergo training to ensure they can help anyone with an invisible disability feel safe and assured while travelling.
Types of hidden disabilities include anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autistic spectrum disorder, dementia, bladder and bowel conditions, and sight or hearing loss. It is estimated that there are 10 million people in the UK who have a non-visible disability, including autism and ADHD.
Readybus co-owner Matt Clayson said: “I know only too well from having a son with autism, the difficulties he has daily coping with
“Our son can’t travel to school on the transport provided because of a traumatic experience a few years ago, with a driver who didn’t understand how autism impacts him.
“It’s meant we’ve been initiating various measure with drivers to ensure they’re aware of people like our son and others who might need a little bit or reassurance.
“As we transport thousands of children every day on our coaches, it’s vital those that have autism, anxiety or any other hidden disability, can feel safe and secure when travelling to and from school.
“Becoming members of the Sunflower scheme will ensure we can pass on the key messages around hidden disabilities through our drivers, to everyone who boards our coaches.”
Readybus employs a number of people with hidden disabilities including driver Steve Newman and scheduler Darryl Crick, who has two autistic daughters.
Steve said: “I know the support that Matt provides for employees like me and to be able to help the thousands of people we transport each week, is really important.
“We can help increase awareness of hidden disabilities to both children and adults every day, which means more and more people become aware of them and ensure their behaviour tunes into the needs of everyone around them.
Darryl said: “My wife and I spend a lot of time caring for our two girls, but I get amazing support from Matt to have flexibility around my
work, to ensure my daughters feel safe and secure every day.
“Being part of the Sunflower scheme means we can be visible to more people on our support for hidden disabilities, and this means a huge amount to my daughters’ welfare.”
Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, said: “Living with a hidden disability can make daily life more demanding for many people, but it can be difficult for others to recognise, acknowledge or understand the challenges faced.
“We are delighted that Readybus will be raising awareness of non-visible disabilities to the thousands of adults and school children that travel with them each week. Readybus’s support further impacts our opportunity to educate the wider society about disabilities that you cannot see.
“Becoming a member of the Sunflower means Readybus will have the tools to recognise and support individuals with non-visible disabilities and its drivers to become confident in providing Sunflower wearers with additional help or assistance.
“This could simply mean giving them more time to prepare, or process information, or simply using clear verbal language.
“All of this support helps those with an invisible disability feel confident in their environment and reduce stress levels.”