Let me begin by saying my child is not the enemy. Please try not to treat him like one.
My child has the same rights and should be allowed to ride in a plane, your plane, just as the gentleman snoring loudly in seat 3B is right now. Yes, I understand that he’s screaming bloody murder right now. He’s frightened. The pressure in the cabin is affecting his sensibilities. The people talking loudly to each other; the sounds that the plane is making are affecting him. Please don’t keep stopping by and checking his seatbelt every 10 seconds. I can’t help but notice that you didn’t seem to care about the other screaming child in the back of the plane.
Oh? It’s a newborn? Well, can I ask why the double standard? How is it okay for that parent to escape scrutiny, yet you keep harassing me? My child should “know better”, you say? Hmmmmm. I don’t think you understand.
Allow me to explain. Also, allow me to clarify.
Just like that newborn, my son struggles to verbalize his discomfort in social situations. His understanding of this situation in his mind is identical to that newborn back there. I have taken the time and great effort to make sure we have things to make him as comfortable as possible for the duration of this trip, but even I can’t ultimately control his reactions. As his parent, I do my best, just as you strive to do, each day in your job. Sometimes I miss the mark. Trust me, it is definitely not intentional. I did not awaken this morning thinking “How can I piss off everyone my son comes in contact with?” I have much bigger fish to fry.
In the not so distant past, it was customary for a passenger when booking a flight to tell the person who booked the reservation what special needs they might have, if any. This needs to start making a comeback. I am more than happy to let the staff know our situation, and if necessary, things we can do as a team to make this trip as enjoyable for everyone. It may mean enduring some moments that are not so comfortable for a period of time, but the end result might turn out to be not so bad. The best part is you have an opportunity for a learning moment to take place. We can all stand to learn something, wouldn’t you agree?
The worst thing you can do is make me or my family feel like we have done something wrong or inconvenienced you in some way. On every flight (or just about) I’m certain that there is a screaming child or an obnoxiously drunk adult or that one person who can’t wait until the sign is turned off to move about the cabin. I don’t always see a police escort waiting for them at the airline terminal, so why single me out? It’s because autism is such a hot topic, isn’t it? Or, is it your lack of training and understanding of the situation? Please help me to understand.
My family is not your enemy. Please try not to treat us like one.
Lets’ try to work together to keep those skies as friendly as we can. I’m game if you are.