A GREENOCK mum says wearing a simple lanyard in public has proved life-changing for her autistic son and she is now on a mission to promote them.

Alison Little’s son Josh, eight, struggles with large crowds, sensory 'triggers' and noise.

This makes routine tasks like going to the shops very difficult and the 41-year-old says there is a lack of understanding among the general public.

She recently discovered a 'hidden disability' lanyard which individuals can wear to signify their condition - and says it has made a huge difference.

Alison said: “Josh really struggles with loud noises and often wears ear defenders to help him.

"He finds it difficult being in public places and often struggles to cope.

“Occasionally he has meltdowns in public and being by myself, it is difficult.

"People often stare and judge and it is hard, there is a lack of understanding.

“I don’t want people to think I can’t control my child or that he is just kicking off, there is a reason for it.”

Alison was browsing social media when she came across the lanyard which signifies a hidden disability.

The green design with sunflowers is a discreet way to let people know that someone may require additional assistance while out in public.

Josh, who attends Craigmarloch School part-time, wears his lanyard all the time and his mum is hoping to raise awareness of what it means.

She said: “I saw the lanyard about a month ago and ordered one for Josh, he hasn’t taken it off since.

"It's a brilliant idea.

“Some airports and supermarkets use them already but it wasn’t something I was aware of.

“I think it could help a lot of people, not just with autism but with other hidden disabilities while out and about."

When Alison wrote about the impact of the lanyard on social media she received hundreds of positive responses.

Alison said: “The lanyards will make life for Josh and myself easier but I also think it could help everyone with a hidden disability.

“We have been on bus journeys and sat at the front because Josh is very much about routine.

"Occasionally we have been judged for doing so.

"I hope that if people recognise the lanyard they will realise we are not being rude and are entitled to sit there.

“I hope it would make shopping easier as hopefully less people would stare while I assist Josh.

“It is something that I would like to see people and organisations nationwide aware of.

"If there were staff trained who could help or offer additional assistance, especially in busy places I think it would really help.”