June 25, 2008

Autistic Toddler and Family Removed from Plane

Coverage of plummeting airline service continues to include excellent case studies revealing the details of counterproductive social responses to disability. Here an incident involving intimidation combined with physical overstimulation by the flight crew resulted in a predictable panic response from a passenger with autism. There appears to be some disconnect occurring in American's customer service training regarding the simple facts of certain disabilities.

Julie Deardorff tells the story behind an American Airlines flight departing from the Raleigh- Durham International Airport. Here she reports:

But the mother, Janice Farrell, told Crump that the flight attendant made matters worse.

"She kept coming over and tugging his seatbelt to make it tighter, 'This has to stay tight'. And then he was wiggling around and trying to get out of his seatbelt. And she kept coming over and reprimanding him and yelling at him," Farrell said.

One of the pilots came back to the cabin with a stern warning and Farrell says the frustration level escalated.

She says Jarrett picked up on that and things only got worse.

"He just melted down. He saw me getting upset. He was upset. He was on the floor rolling around," she said.

Deardorff's advice is sage:

But the prevalance of autism is increasing and society must learn how to handle the special needs of people who are on the spectrum.

For the full article:

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/features_julieshealthclub/2008/06/autistic-toddle.html

Posted by rollingrains at June 25, 2008 11:52 PM