Grace Warnock – Designing signage to showcase invisible disabilities

Grace Warnock was only nine years of age when she was dianogsed with Chron’s disease but now she is raising awareness of invisible disabilities by designing toilet signs which are used for accessible toilets to let people know that there is folk out there that have invisible disabilities where they may take longer compared to others using toilets. 

From East Lothian, Grace is now a Design Champion for the V&A Dundee, a Year of Young People ambassador as well as a Young Scot Award champion winning the Health Award. That isn’t the only thing however, because she was also awarded a British Citizenship Youth Award last year, met the First Minister at Bute House in recognition of winning her Young Scot Award and met with The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Radio 1 Teen Awards.

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Grace has recently been named a V&A Dundee Design Champion

Grace suffers from Chron’s disease, an invisible disability which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth downwards. Grace has been battling this for a few years now but that hasn’t stopped her from spreading awareness of invisible disabilities.

People with invisible conditions sometimes face being judged when using a disabled toilet, because although they need the facilities they didn’t look like they should be allowed. No one should be judged and verbally abused for using toilet facilities just because someone decides that they are not disabled enough.

Grace Warnock

Grace wanted to change how people reacted to those who needed to use a disabled toilet but didn’t have a visible disability. She took action by designing a new sign which showed that not all disabilities were visible.

The sign depicts people standing alongside a person in a wheelchair, making clear that the facilities are for people with a range of needs. Those standing have a heart symbol on their chest, both representing invisibility and reminding others to have a heart and not judge what can’t be seen.

a sign on a toilet door showing four people in a line, one in a wheelchair and the other three with heart symbols on their chests.
“Grace’s Sign” has been used in various of locations around the country

Her sign has been used in locations across Scotland, including Edinburgh Airport, the Scottish Parliament, Hibs Eastern home ground. Her local MP, Martin Whitfield is campaigning to try and get her sign implemented into the Houses of Parliament as well.

“My local MP, Martin Whitfield, is trying to get my sign adopted in Westminster. My goal this year is to get the sign used by schools so that the message can be taught at a young age and children grow up knowing all about invisible disabilities.”

Grace Warnock

V&A Dundee Design Champion

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Grace’s sign is now displayed in the V&A Dundee

Grace is the youngest Design Champion for the V&A Dundee. Her toilet signs are now used at the museum as well. The V&A Dundee also have a Changing Places toilet for visitors with profound disabilities in which Grace’s sign is used there as well.

An incredible young girl

She is an incredible young girl who at such a young age has already made an amazing impact in Scotland and she should be so proud of herself for what she has achieved. For someone being recongised locally, nationally and even internationally is no mean’s feet for a twelve year old. What she has achieved is outstanding!

Dundee’s Young People is a series of features showcasing and celebrating the talents of Dundee’s young people and people affiliated with Dundee during the Year of Young People in 2018 launched by the Scottish Government. A project designed by Dundee Culture to let audiences know about the impact young people have in Dundee. 

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