Passengers with a hidden disability traveling through Christchurch Airport can now discreetly identify themselves by displaying a Sunflower lanyard.
Airports can be busy and confusing places, but for people with hidden disabilities they can be overwhelming. For this reason, Christchurch Airport has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Scheme scheme, a programme for people who would like a little more assistance without having to ask for it.
The lanyards are used by people with a non-visible disability to indicate the wearer would like additional support, assistance or a little more time. Those disabilities may be physical, mental or neurological and could include anxiety, autism, dementia, hearing impairment, epilepsy and partial sight.
When airport workers see the Sunflower symbol they are aware that those passengers may need special attention or additional assistance.
Christchurch Airport is offering the lanyards free to people who need them.
There is also a downloadable or printed guide to the airport. The images and text in the guide will help people with Hidden Disabilities know what to expect and where to find things when they go to the airport.
Airport Head of Customer & Commercial, Craig Dunstan:
“The distinctive lanyard is well known at many airports across the world, so developing our scheme involved listening to many groups, including other airports, community health advisors, groups supporting people with disabilities, and families whose children benefit from wearing the lanyard.
“Almost one in four people identifies as having a mild or severe disability, so the various groups representing them offered us very helpful information to shape our scheme.”
“Hidden disabilities can affect a person’s day-to-day life, but not be immediately obvious to people interacting with them. It was especially enlightening to learn from lanyard wearers what does and doesn’t work for them, and hear their suggestions about how it would work best for them at our airport.”
More than 160 airports worldwide, including over 50 in the United States, recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.