Keyring cards can be used in various ways. Here are some common uses:
1. Answering "What's wrong with you?"
Whether asked by medical professionals, family, friends or colleagues, there are times we want the people around us to know about our differences - but at the same time, we don't want to spend all our time repeatedly explaining it. The keyring cards can solve this issue by explaining it for us.
And yes, health-care professionals seem to really like these cards. We have had several paramedics, A & E and nursing staff contact us saying how much easier the cards have made their job.
2. "This is my normal."
When a condition means you may do things differently and/or have different limitations to the 'average' person, being able to give people who you will be spending time with (like friends, family and colleagues) an overview of your normal is very helpful. Showing them your customised pack of cards means they can create the understanding needed, and help them to react appropriately and not fuss when your various differences show. They can also help ensure that expectations are realistic and reduce the number of misunderstandings. For example if they know you wear headphones for a medical condition, they are less likely to misinterpret them as 'ignoring'. Or if they've read the fatigue card they are less likely to assume you are being lazy.
The colour, light-hearted tone and stickman images make it easier for people to process and accept the information given in a way that a verbal explanation rarely achieves.
3. "Here and now, you need to know...."
Cards can also provide a great way to convey vital information in specific situations, especially where it is hard to find the right way to explain it - whether because it's hard for you to speak or find the right words, or (which is probably even more common) it is something the other person may find hard to understand or accept.
If I have a particularly problematic symptom - for example, if I'm struggling with speech, I will often wear the cards on a lanyard with the applicable 'can't speak' at the front so I can explain my silence quickly.
Other times I might put a card on the table next to me - for example the recharging card, or the one saying I can't cope with people, or the one saying I'm concentrating - please don't disturb. So that anyone who comes up to me gets the information they need without me having to interact with them at all.
4. What if...?
When living with a variable condition, 'what if my symptoms kick off and I can't explain it' is a very real possibility. Being able to answer with 'I will use my keyring cards' is a real confidence boost, and can decrease the anxiety associated with trying to manage a condition in an unfamiliar environment.
Of course there are many other ways to use them too - they can be used however works for you!
Below are a few of our blogs about using the cards.
And some youtube reviews from our customers (These are the views of customers - and we have not had any say in their creation)