View Full Version : Autistic Toddler Kicked Off Airplane
Jessica at Parenting.com
06-25-2008, 12:32 PM
Did anyone see this story?
The mom says the crew was rude. The crew says the mom was uncooperative. Tough situation all around.
What would you do if you were in this position?
06-25-2008, 12:54 PM
Well my mom and dad have an autistic kid in there church group and every time they say the prayer he starts yelling, they cannot be controlled they basically control themselves, it's not right for that airline to kick the bot off at all because they can get sued for it, because that is the same thing as teeling someone that is from the middle east that they can't get on because of 9-11. does that make any sense?
06-25-2008, 02:03 PM
One of my closest girlfriends has an autistic son. He is usually really good in a comfortable surrounding that is, one he knows. She cannot take him to new places like most mom's because he freaks out when he touches or senses new things.
I think this is an unfortunate situation. I don't know why the mother took her son on the plane as from what I understand a lot of autistic kids have trouble with new surrounding so a plane would be very scary for them. Unless the mother had no choice except flying (I don't know the entire reason). If the crew was yelling at the boy it would make it worse and I feel bad the mom had to go through it. At the same time, when a child that has trouble communicating throws a tantrum sometimes there is nothing you can do to calm them until the start to calm themselves. Maybe the mom should have tried a late flight that wouldn't be filled with people and hopefully have a tired boy that would sleep. Again, a tough situation. I really feel for parents of autistic children, I know it must be an uphill battle every day!
06-26-2008, 02:47 PM
talk about violating the ADA. What a bunch of wankers.
06-26-2008, 03:14 PM
I watched this interview this morning on GMA. The mother stated that they were originally supposed to fly out the night before, and that her son was very calm. She said he did start to get antsy because they were stuck on the plane for an hour before being told they wouldn't be departing. According to her, when he got antsy and excited the flight attendant was very understanding and let her calm him down and after he was calm the flight attendant sat with them and showed him pictures off her cell phone to help keep him occupied. I think if the attendant on the flight the next day had of taken the time to shut up and listen to the mother about what needed to be done for her son then there wouldn't have been any problem, she would have been able to calm/comfort her son and they could have been on their way. The attendant, in her actions, speech and manner made a situation much worse. Now the airline has released a statement saying that the reason the mother and son was asked to leave the plane is because she didn't stow a carry on bag appropriately (it was on the floor under her feet, just like it was the day before). I think that they are trying to cover their rears, because they didn't even try to let her or help her calm her son.
06-27-2008, 07:14 AM
I'm really dissappointed by this:( It's very hard for parents of Autistic kids to go out in the world with their children without getting attention,but if they never go out the child will never learn how to behave accordingly.I feel really bad for this mother and child,I can't imagine the emotions that mother must be going through.
06-28-2008, 06:21 PM
This is always a tough issue. I am sympathetic to the parent up to a point -- flying with kids is ALWAYS hard. However, if it's true that she had a bag that was in violation of FAA rules and a child that (for whatever reason) would not properly sit in his seat, the plane legally cannot take off. Airlines that violate the regulations are given huge fines for violating these regulations. The regulations are in place to protect both the individual himself and the people around him.
Maybe the flight attendant spoke sternly and that upset this child. She was probably trying an alternate approach because what mom was doing wasn't working. You can argue the merits of this authoritarian approach (I've seen flight attendents use different methods to try to help parents keep kids in seats), but ultimately the kid can't legally fly if it's unsafe. Just like you get kicked off the plane if you are too drunk to function. Safety first. Airlines will do what they can to help people with disabilities fly safety (help with wheelchairs, oxygen, etc), but I don't know what else the airline could have done in this situation.
The final question I have is what if they child were simply a "typical" 2 year old having a tantrum. Would there be such an outcry if he were kicked off the plane?
07-04-2008, 03:07 AM
I was a flight attendant for over a year. I think the best thing a parent has done was gave me a flyer for her autistic son. Telling me what to expect and what I could do to help if there was an emergency. Communication is key. And unfortunately the flight attendant does not get control of the plane it is the captains call on who stays onboard. I did not see this particular case so I can't comment on whether what the did was right or not. But just a heads up if you are flying and there is something out of the ordinary (not just with kids) it is appreciated if you can give the crew any kind of notice and preparation (e.x. typing up a flyer to explain an illness). Also if at all possible bring you car seat if there are empty seats on the plane they will let you have one for the child even if it is a lap child (if it is approved for air travel and always check the particular airlines rules cause each is different). I recommend that because you do not let you child sit on you lap for any reason in the car why should a plane be different? Also a lot of kids seem to behave a little better. Maybe becuase they know what to expect when placed in a car seat?
07-05-2008, 11:43 PM
yeah because parents of special needs children always keep fliers on them about their childs condition
07-06-2008, 10:01 AM
yeah because parents of special needs children always keep fliers on them about their childs condition
Of course they don't keep fliers on them at all times, but if you are taking your child on a plane or somewhere where a disruption is typically not tolerated (museum, library etc) why not carry a flyer or two? Especially if the child has been diagnosed with Autism?. You can look and tell if a child has Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy and certain other disabilities, but you can't look at a child and tell if they are Autistic or not.
07-09-2008, 11:42 AM
Of course I wasn't there so I can't see exactly what happened but the part of the story I did hear on GMA seemed to suggest that the flight attendent just didn't feel like dealing with the child. I think it was discrimination against the child and I have little tolerance for that.
I have a 5 month old and I just traveled on a plane with him for the first time. My pediatrician suggested giving him baby benadril so that he would sleep on the plane. He wasn't saying it for the sake of my baby though. I got the sense he was informing me that if your baby crys you are gunna have to answer to a lot of very annoyed people, so you better put him to sleep.
I did give him benadril before the flight. He slept until we landed. I was so terrified of him crying and screaming. I've heard so many horrible stories like this where the child isn't exactly calm (because they are children) and the child and the mother get kicked off the plane.
The more I thought about it the more unfair it seemed that I should have to give my child cold medicine just so I won't bother anyone.
Kids my be small but they are people too. They need to travel they need to eat and sleep and breath just like adults do. People need to except that kids are gunna be antsy and they are gunna be scared or even bored on a plane. Adults even get scared on planes!!! They may know how to control it better than kids, but that doesn't mean the kid or the parent should be punished by people who obiously don't understand what a parent goes through to travel.
In this case where the child was autistic I think the crew should have done everything that they could to make the mom and the child feel comfortable.
I think the airline should apologise to the mother and the child and they should receive compensation for all the trouble they had to go through when they were simply trying to use a form of public trasporation to get where they needed to go.
08-04-2008, 04:37 PM
I understand that this child was Autistic, but it must have been pretty bad for the pilot to decide to turn this plane around and de-board the mother and son. We can all comment about how unfair it was that this mother and son were kicked off the plane, but it all has to do with the safety and regulations. If this child was delaying the flight, and the arrival of 100 other passengers to their destination, I cant say I wouldnt have secretely prayed that the same thing would happen. Lets not forget that the mother is not innocent in this either. She refused to store a bag in the overhead. Regardless if it had things to calm him, those are the rules. I dont know when they have ever been different.
And what about a carseat? Sounds like he had his own seat on the plane. Why didnt he have a carseat that he could be strapped into. Screaming or not, the plane could have taken off, and he would have been restrained. This wouldnt have been an issue.
I have traveled by plane with my 2 year old, and have never expected anyone to ACCOMODATE my daughter and her mood. The fact that he is autistic, is just an excuse. I am shocked that it is ok for this mother to single out her sons disability for this situation, but what about in the future when he isnt able to do something because he IS autistic, such as attend a public school in a standard class. Should we then feel bad for her AGAIN? Should we allow him to disrubt and stop classes, because he is having a moment? Should my childs educations suffer, because he needs a 15 minute time out, before story time, or on a field trip?
I not a mean person, but this is simple. The fact is, he was an un-cooperative passanger. For the safety and security of the other passengers, these people are removed or not allowed on the aircraft. Just like the drunk, they refused to board at the gate, because he appeared intoxicated? Fair, it depends. If he was a happy drunk, does that mean that was inappropiate for him to be denied the right to board. I think not. Should he call ABC and start complaining?
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