I was flying from Orlando to San Francisco with a layover in Vegas. The plane was coming from Miami with a large, nice family already on board. They were about twelve strong and took up four rows across the aisle from me. There was an assortment of children and adults, and an autistic boy who looked to be about 13 or 14 years old. He kept tugging on his pull-up pants that were sticking out of the back of his shorts.
Now, I am one of those over-prepared parents that has one of those Mom-Bags… the kind that has an assortment of crap that will alternately medicate and bandage a wounded rhinoceros and build a small interactive model of the Eiffel Tower with gummies, a ColorForm set, and a set of 3D glasses. My daughters have been flying since they were infants and have barely even made an audible cry on a plane – they don’t have TIME to. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the Mom-Bag on the plane with me (or my kids) when the audible shrieks of the autistic kid began as we sat readying for takeoff. All he had to entertain him was his clothing and a glowy necklace someone had bought him.
The ear-piercing shrieks continued with regularity throughout the nearly 4-hour flight. They got worse when a family member tried to talk to him or keep him from eating their food, etc. The other passengers were very uncomfortable, and I thought my ears were going to bleed. The flight crew really seemed to avoid them, but it had gotten worse.
The kid crapped his pants about 15 minutes into the flight. It’s one thing to smell a poopie diaper on a baby or even a toddler, but on a teenaged boy? No one in the party got up to escort him to the bathroom and change him. He just sat and marinated in it, screeching the whole time. The people around me were silently gagging every time he jumped up and down in his seat.
There was no excuse for them to bring him on the flight without some plan to entertain him, much less change his pull-up. He played nicely with his glowy necklace, so why not something else benign to entertain him? Anything to stop the screeching… That poor kid, and our poor ears and noses.