Assistance for people with invisible disabilities at Changi Airport
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Assistance for people with invisible disabilities at Changi Airport

SINGAPORE — People with invisible disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome and dementia can now look forward to improved service at Changi Airport thanks to a new series of initiatives aimed at providing passengers with a more stress-free and comprehensive travel experience.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a press release on Wednesday (Feb 2) that the initiatives include a personalised airport guide, special identification lanyards and a group of trained staff to assist passengers.

They were developed by CAG in partnership with special schools and educators from Rainbow Centre Training and Consultancy (RCTC), a not-for-profit organisation that aims to enable people with disabilities to thrive in an inclusive community.

A social story airport guide

The airport guide takes the form of a social story, a popular tool used to familiarize people with invisible disabilities with the various procedures they must complete before reaching their destination.

The Changi Airport Social Story, comprised of photos and short descriptions, presents the entire airport journey – from check-in to boarding – in an easy-to-understand way. Passengers and caregivers can walk through the processes using the photos in the social story as they prepare for their flight.

This step-by-step guide also allows you to tailor it to each passenger’s journey. You can access and download it from the Changi Airport website or print and use a paper version.

Two types of lanyards for Changi Airport staff to identify people with invisible disabilities. (PHOTO: Land Transport Authority/Hidden Disabilities Sunflower)Two types of lanyards for Changi Airport staff to identify people with invisible disabilities. (PHOTO: Land Transport Authority/Hidden Disabilities Sunflower)

Two types of lanyards for Changi Airport staff to identify people with invisible disabilities. (PHOTO: Land Transport Authority/Hidden Disabilities Sunflower)

Trained airport staff to identify and provide assistance to passengers

Passengers who prefer a more discreet method of signalling their disability may choose to use the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard or the “May I Have a Seat Please” lanyard issued by the Land Transport Authority.

Airport staff have been trained to identify these lanyards and offer additional support to these passengers. This includes giving them more time to complete procedures or guiding them through airport procedures.

In addition, more than 300 Changi Airport frontline workers from various passenger touchpoints have undergone specialist training at RCTC and have been equipped with the skills to effectively assist passengers with special needs. These workers are known as Changi Care Ambassadors and are recognised by their gold badges.

“Navigating unfamiliar areas and procedures while waiting for a flight can be stressful, especially for passengers whose disabilities may not be immediately apparent,” said Damon Wong, vice president of passenger experience, ground operations and customer service at CAG.

“These initiatives aim to improve the overall travel experience for passengers with invisible disabilities and we hope they will make the airport a more comfortable and accessible place for them.”

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