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Syracuse airport joins program offering support for travelers with hidden disabilities

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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Syracuse Hancock International Airport is now participating in the hidden disabilities sunflower program. It’s an initiative in which airport employees and volunteers can help a traveler who self-identifies as a non-visible disability, such as a mental-health condition. (Photo credit: zoeyadvertising.com)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) announced it is now participating in a program that provides support to travelers with hidden disabilities.

The airport has joined the global network of airports, shopping centers, and others who participate in the hidden disabilities sunflower program, the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA) said.

Originally launched at Gatwick Airport outside of London, England, the program allows individuals who self-identify as having a non-visible disability to discreetly indicate this information to airport employees and volunteers. Airport employees and volunteers have been trained to recognize the hidden disability sunflower lanyards and offer “extra support, time, and understanding” to the individual.

“Hidden disabilities take on many forms,” Debi Marshall, SRAA Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, said. “An individual may self-identify as someone with learning or cognitive difficulties, mental-health conditions, chronic pain, or even temporary mobility issues after a surgery. This program enhances the support we provide to passengers of all abilities at SYR.”

Passengers can request the lanyards at their airline’s ticket counter, or by reaching out directly to the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority.

Those interested in learning more about accessibility initiatives at the Syracuse airport can visit its accessibility page on its website, SRAA said.