Hidden Disabilities Program
What is it?
Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) is a member of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program. The program helps identify passengers who wish to discreetly alert staff that they may need a bit of extra time because of a hidden disability. Hidden disabilities can be physical, mental, or neurological conditions that limit or challenge a person’s movements, senses, or activities but are not obvious to others.
RFD staff received enhanced training about ways in which to offer support to those with hidden disabilities including “Sunflower Conversations,” which gave the team a deeper understanding through interviews with people who wear the Sunflower by sharing their personal stories about the sunflower’s role and the value and support the programs provides.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower indicates to anyone approaching – especially those in customer service roles – a person wearing one of these items that the person may need more assistance and that their patience is appreciated.
As a Sunflower member, RFD will provide a green sunflower pin to any passenger who requests one to identify themselves as an individual with a hidden disability. This lets RFD gate agents, TSA, staff, and volunteers know that the passenger may require patience, understanding, or additional assistance while at the airport ticket counter, TSA, gate and boarding areas.
Anyone with Sunflower Program identification will also receive:
– Free non alcoholic drink provided by Skyview Café
– Priority Boarding
How it Works
Travelers ask for a lanyard, wristband, or pin at the Airline Ticket Counter and determine for themselves when to wear them. Anyone who feels they have a hidden disability can request one. There are no prerequisites for asking for or wearing an item. When someone working at the airport sees someone wearing a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower-branded lanyard, wristband, or pin, they will then know that this person may need extra assistance/patience.