Thursday, June 26, 2008

The very unfriendly skies

That's the title of this post by Kristina Chew at Autism Vox about the removal of 2-year-old Jarret Farrell and his mother, Janice Farrell, from an American Eagle flight at the Raleigh-Durham (NC) because of Jarret's behavior. This is part of what Kristina writes:

There’s many a judgment about the “behavior problems” of autistic children, and about their stubborn parents who just don’t get that they should stay at home.

... What is more disturbing is the negative and sometimes vitriolic tone in some comments about the boy, his mother, how disabled people should behave, what utism is, what people who are differenced are entitled to, and passenger comfort.

... Still, from reading the ABC News report, the response of the flight crew (those requests to tighten a seatbelt could evoke not only sensory distress in Charlie, but also agony at the barrage of words and orders directed to him) does not sound like it helped. Just today in New Jersey legislation calling for autism
training for first responders
(Bill A-1908/S-1217) passed and it seems that this kind of training—including more understanding about disabled individuals and the accommodations they need—-is more than called for. Janice Farrell has noted that “had the flight crew been more patient and understanding, the situation might not have escalated”: As parents of autistic children know, more patience, more nderstanding, can go a long way when you’re at the beginning of a long trip.

Read the whole thing - there's lots more.