Several incidents in the last month have moms thinking.
An airplane was about to take off from Raleigh, N.C., when they turned around to remove an upset, autistic toddler and his mother. According to an American Airlines statement, Janice and Jarret Farrell were kicked off primarily because Janice wouldn't put her bag in an overhead compartment--but they also said that Jarrett was crying and screaming so loudly that "the child's well-being was in question." Was it really necessary to remove them from the plane--after all, what mom hasn't had the nightmare of a scared kid in flight? Or is it that we are in a new era of discrimination against autistic children?
- In May, Carol Race's local parish got a restraining order against her autistic son, Adam, claiming that his behavior was extremely dangerous and disruptive and that he spit and urinated in church. She denies the claims.
- Also in May, Alex Barton's kindergarten class was allowed to say what they didn't like about him and take a vote about whether they wanted him in class or not. By a 14 to 2 margin, little Alex lost.
- Just this month, Darla Granger, mom of twin autistic boys, discovered that her sons' class--along with two other classes with autistic children--was left out of the school yearbook at Quail Glenn Elementary. Darla is filing a complaint against the local board of education.
"Autism discrimination against our kids is not new, what's new is that it's being noticed by the general public," said Genevieve Hinson, a blogger and mom of a 15-year-old with autism.
"Because autism awareness is gaining ground, these stories are getting reported on, and maybe they wouldn't have been before. It's sad what's happening to these kids, but in a way it might help benefit the greater good and the community, if people are made more aware of the challenges that people with autism face. Maybe people--instead of kicking them off the plane--will ask what they could do. For my son, it's (a matter of) giving us space--let him have his moment and he will be fine. It may be different for every person."
What's your view?