Have you heard of the Sunflower Lanyard Program, started and run by the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited, a private company based in the UK? It began at London's Gatwick Airport in 2016 and has since become an international movement. People with any Hidden Disability can wear a sunflower lanyard to discreetly identify themselves to staff at airports, shops and other participating venues around the world.
"Not all disabilities are visible – some are not immediately obvious. They include autism, chronic pain, and learning difficulties as well as mental health conditions, mobility, speech impairments, and sensory loss such as speech, sight loss, hearing loss, or deafness. They also include respiratory conditions as well as chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic pain, and sleep disorders when these significantly impact day-to-day life. Although you may not be able to see these invisible impairments and conditions, they’re still there."
You can read more about the program and view their map of participating airports on the official Hidden Disabilities website. Here in Washington State, SeaTac Airport was the first US airport to join the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Program. Any passenger traveling through SeaTac can request a free at the pre-security information desk between Checkpoint 3 and Checkpoint 4 (near the Starbucks and US Bank). This desk is staffed from 7 AM - 9 PM, seven days a week. You'll find more information about Sunflower Lanyards and other accommodations for passengers with disabilities, including the SeaTac Social Story and Sensory Room here on the Port of Seattle SeaTac website.
We're excited for the day when the pandemic eases enough that all of us feel safe traveling again. We hope that happens soon, and that we'll all take advantage of this Sunflower Lanyard Program and help spread the word to everyone else.