Nonverbal Autistic Teen Prevented From Speaking on American AirlinesAutism Mom Blog

Nonverbal Autistic Teen Prevented From Speaking on American Airlines

Nonverbal Autistic teen Carly Fleischmann, a nonverbal autistic teen, was prevented from speaking on American Airlines.  A flight attendant insisted that Carly put her iPad away, in a place that she couldn’t reach.  Carly is a completely nonverbal autistic teen, and uses her iPad to communicate.  Carly does a lot of traveling, and this was the first time that she has had a problem.

Carly Fleischmann posted Monday on her Facebook page:

Dear American airlines, I have been on an airplane over 26 times in my life. I’ve never had a problem being on the airplane before. However on my way back from LA this year I was met up with the challenge. I am nonverbal however I communicate using my iPad and my computer. Every time I have ever traveled I’ve always been allowed to keep my iPad on my lap before takeoff and juring landing. My iPad to me is like a voice. Can you imagine being on the airplane and benign asked not to talk for over 25 minutes. When the flight attendants comes around to tell people to turn off all electronic devices it then takes the airplane a while to taxi to the take off strip. I’d like to add at this point that it’s statistically proven that 45% of all plane malfunctions are spotted by passengers and not the pilots. Imagine I heard something or saw something and I was unable to comment or say that something was wrong. You are not just putting me in danger by not letting me use an iPad you are putting the whole plane in danger. Also a lot of times any self injuries or problems with the passengers are caused during takeoff and landing. If I’m not able to tell anybody that I’m hurt or injured because I don’t have a voice I am in trouble. I am stating all this because on my plane flight back to Toronto. I was asked by the stewardess to turn off my iPad and put it away. When my add told her that I needed it to communicate she started fighting with us. It was not until the captain got involved and agreed that this was a crucial thing for me that I was allowed to keep my iPad. The flight intended still insisted that I put it in front of my seat out of my reach. I was watching the stewardess on the flight the whole trip. She did not stop talking. Imagine asking her not to talk for over 50 minutes. Do you really think she can do it? After watching her I don’t think she could. She stated to me that it was the policy of the airlines that i couldn’t have my iPad and that with all her years of flying that she’s never seen or heard anybody using an iPad to communicate before. But the captain agreed that this is a crucial thing for me. I spoke with the captain during customs and he said that there was no reason why shouldn’t be allowed my iPad.

Carly makes some great points.  Since my son is completely nonverbal, I understand where she is coming from.  If this had happened to my son, I would be furious.  The fact that the captain even said that there was no reason that she shouldn’t be allowed her iPad speaks volumes.  The flight attendant was doing her job.  She was following American Airlines policies.  But aren’t there exceptions to every policy?  American Airlines needs to address this issue immediately.

Carly Fleischmann posted on her Facebook page yesterday:

I am working on getting American Airlines The Federal Aviation Administration The Human rights commission all in the same room with little me. I know they are all following me now so all I want to say is listen to all my fans and followers and say yes to this meeting. Its time to stand up. Its time to listen and its time for Autism to be heard.

Let’s help Carly and make some noise.  This could happen to your child next.

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