Free sunflower apparel at RDU available to help travelers with 'hidden disabilities'

Tamara Scott Image
Thursday, July 28, 2022
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July is disability pride month and RDU is partnering with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Organization to distribute sunflower-branded products that discreetly indicate the wearer may need extra assistance.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- July is disability pride month, and RDU is partnering with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Organization to distribute sunflower-branded products that discreetly indicate the wearer may need extra assistance.

Hidden disabilities are conditions that affect day to day life that may not be obvious to people at first glance. They include chronic illnesses and conditions like dementia, autism and learning difficulties.

Travelers at RDU with these challenges can choose to wear a sunflower-branded product to discreetly indicate that they may need additional support or extra time throughout their journey.

The program gives special assistance to travelers when they're checking in, going through security, picking up their bags and just navigating through the airport and the terminals.

TSA agents also received special training, through the TSA Cares Program, that helps those who need extra assistance.

Anyone interested should call their hotline 72 hours in advance. It ensures support at the screening checkpoint and may include an authorized support specialist. They will be wearing a blue card.

Teepa Snow with Positive Approach to Care says she hopes it brings people more peace of mind.

"Gives us time to work out the kinks, figure out how to do things better and for people who are living with dementia and their partners and friends -- wow what a different experience it could be to not be overwhelmed," Snow said.

Free sunflower branded pens, lanyards, bracelets and other products will be available at the information desk at Terminal One. You can make special arrangements to pick them up if you'd like to do that in advance of your travel.

Visit rdu.com for more information about the Sunflower Program and traveling with disabilities at RDU.