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Monday, November 30, 2020

Air Travel and Hidden Disabilities

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families.  One challenge is that autism is an "invisible disability," which does not have obvious physical markers.  

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, which is designed to ease travel for people with disabilities, has arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The program got its start at London's Gatwick Airport in 2016.

Travelers at MSP can now pick up a sunflower lanyard, which indicates to airport staff that the person may need assistance or extra time to navigate the airport.


The sunflower lanyard signals that someone may need more help for a host of reasons, including low vision, hearing loss, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. Passengers should still arrange for assistance with their airlines if disability services are needed.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program has grown across Europe and is now in nearly 10 U.S. airports including Orlando, Miami, Seattle, San Jose and New York-JFK.