Annoyed About Autistic Adolescent

November 13, 2009

in Odor Stories

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.

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

david November 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm

sorry that your a jerk, it is not his fault that he has a disability, and it is alot harder to control than you think

you cant just give an autistic person a gameboy and expect him to be entertained for the whole flight

i have an autistic cousin and they routinely fly fron london to australia, a 20hour flight, and they are able to handle my cousin but it is VWERY VERY hard, they dont like to fly with him, but they HAVE to go

what gives you the right to fly and not them? how do you know if he is going to see a specialist or doctor? you dont, so mind your business, if you can tell that the kid is autistic than you should understand that he has a disability and give him a break, its not his fault, and NOT the parents fault, they can do as much as possible but that doesn't guarentee anything…….it is tenfold easier to control a baby crying on a flight than an autistic person


Ann September 6, 2013 at 1:08 am

Sorry but it is the parents fault for not bring a change of diaper for their autistic kid who craps his diapers at what age? 14 or 15?!!!! A game boy, books, a cell phone, a mp3 player, anything would have been better than a glow necklace! High pitched squealing and crapping one's pants and sitting in it is not acceptable!


gail March 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Get an understanding before you comment


Traveler1 January 14, 2016 at 5:11 am

why isn't it acceptable? you can't expect to be absolutely comfortable at all times. it sounds like you're a selfish dick with little to no understanding of the kinds of people that inhabit the world other than you. you also sound like you're taking the piss out of a disabled person and you have no idea about the financial circumstances of those taking care of him, maybe they spent all their money on the flights? flights are expensive, therefore they probably couldn't afford a cell phone and all the stuff you mentioned. i think you're not acceptable!


Tom August 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Sorry, but courtesy goes both ways—having a disability doesn't mean you or your family should not show courtesy to others. The people on that flight showed the family an extraordinary amount of courtesy. The least the family could have done was to take steps to actively manage their own child.


gail March 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm

So true


patsytp January 16, 2016 at 3:09 am

you being David, the guy ready to put every single other commentator down for any "mistake" they may or may not have made, yet then out you pull a diasabled relative who "has" to "routniely" fly to Australia on a 20 hour flight (with who?? that's darn fast) and yet a screaming baby is implied in your answer IS the parents' fault… you can't have it always, mate. Either be a tosser 100% of the time, or don't try and be empathetic at all. I personally would like to see where you fit on the spectrum, having read your judgments on people's stories and anecdotes… you have an answer to most or an insult if you can't come up with an answer or just "call B/S".


Elodie November 14, 2009 at 4:21 am

Okay. I do, in a way, understand what you're getting at. Sure, the kid sounded like he was really annoying. But guess what? He was autistic. He didn't know any better. I understand that people like the child you encountered can be very obnoxious. I've encountered people like him myself. But do I complain? No. I don't say anything, because I know the people I encountered couldn't help it. The best thing would have simply been never to post this story at all, because now you've offended a bunch of people. Next time you come across a person like this boy, simply deal with it as best as you can and try to understand that person's situation.


Stories April 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I agree with you except that posting the story is all right I think. The internet is just a chatter


Ann September 6, 2013 at 1:10 am

Being autistic doesn't excuse a person from disturbing the right to peace and quiet of others. High pitched squealing and crapping one's pants can be done at home – not in public. Autistics need to understand other people have feelings too. It's called empathy.


Ann September 6, 2013 at 1:19 am

Obviously one cannot help crapping their pants-if they are seriously retarded – so I retract that comment – but I have a friend with an autistic kid who will shit himself when he doesn't get his own way. It's disgusting. The high pitched squealing isn't fair to people who are trying to have peace and quiet and might have migraines or just lost a loved one and are on a flight and have emotions running high. If autistic people are so intelligent then they should use their intelligence and learn empathy for others and a little more self control.


Shine May 31, 2019 at 1:44 pm

The average person with autism has an i.q. of around 85, only 3% have an i.q. of over 115….where as average neurotypical has an i.q. of 99, and the top 2% starts at 132.

As for being so smart and learn empathy….that took me till my 20's after having gained life experience and studies to tackle that hurdle….

And my i.q. was last tested at 132 in 2009.

Not to mention empathy, is one of the social hiccups we have being on the spectrum. It's literally detailed in neuroscience how the region that handles empathy is wired differently. Hence the hurdle.

So that intelligence you spoke of…..that you expect us to use and have. No one on average has it. And even if they were gifted or high functioning. Empathy is a hurdle.


Bob January 10, 2016 at 9:20 am

Okay you prick. I have a brother with Austism and a cousin who is high on the Austic spectrum and whenever we fly I have to deal with people like you. You think "oh that kid is being a annoying little shit" but understand that they can't control it and that you should just place your headphones in your ears and ignore it. If you were so bothered you should keep it to yourself


Traveler1 January 14, 2016 at 5:15 am

Bob – good advice, or the people who have little to no understanding of disabled people and think the world revolves around their precious little selves ought to throw themselves out of the door at 30k feet. i'd rather sit in a plane full of autistic spectrum kids and babies than have to deal with self-absorbed permanently irritated bores like Ann.


mary March 12, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Well, they should control their children! It's BS saying that it can't be "controlled!" Everyone can be "taught or controlled!"


James May 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

If a person has severe autism, incontinence in both forms is very common. Also, the behaviors described (eating off plates, uncontrolled screaming , extreme irritability, extremely fidgety) are all symptoms of the disorder. I myself have Asperger's and I have been around PEOPLE like him before. Does it bother me to hear this type of story; yes but, once you have to either live with it or deal with it, you have no idea what it's like from our perspective. We are people too you know…


Colleen December 20, 2016 at 1:17 pm

People with autism has rights too if you don't like it than drive your damn self. If the child doesn't understand how to use the bathroom do you really think that he understands your damn feelings? You are ignorant!! You say that you have the right to peace and quite well guess what he has the right to fly on a plane. And for the poster you must be just as ignorant to even post something like this how do you know that he even had autism? You just assume that he was? I tell you what I have a child that is severely autistic and I would definitely fly on a plane if we were planning a family trip and if I or my child was discriminated against I would sue you and the airline company plain and simple then we would have are own private jet and wouldn't have to deal with uneducated dumb ass passengers like you who thinks that your shit doesn't stink!!!!!! Believe me lady it does!!!


Brandi September 10, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Sorry, but there is NO way to control any autistic/special needs child screeching. I'm an ASD mom and sure, its annoying as hell. You think I love it? Yeah right. But unless you inflict abuse on the child, you can't stop it. No I don't agree with the soiled diaper not being changed, but I wasn't there and anyone doesn't know why, except his family. Maybe it would of calmed the boy down. But, have some type of compassion towards these kids and for God sake…..the parents!!! I know I do the best I can everyday and my kids acts like a lil monster, but I can't beat the autism out of my child anymore, than I can beat the ignorance out of you. This came from his father and I don't enjoy his behavior anymore than any one else. My older two are fine and according to the world, normally well mannered, decent young adults. I love my child and know his behavior is due to his disorder and that's the way it is. Maybe the person could of walked over with some off the wall object or snack and attempted HELP instead of an internet bashing?! Did you ever think the kid had A REAL HUMAN ISSUE AND HAD THE SHITS AND IT WAS HIS LAST PAMPER, GOING THROUGH MORE THAN NORMAL??? I'm sure the parents could of done what they could and were extremely horrified by the whole situation. Get a grip bc I can't stand stupid people………


Marta November 14, 2009 at 4:46 am

I am sorry for you and sorrier for the boy. Autistic or not his family needed to meet his needs and, clearly, they did not. Anyone, from infant to elderly, would be uncomfortable sitting in a soiled brief, especially for 4 hours. Perhaps he would have settled down if he was cleaned up and comfortable.

It's a hard call but I think I would have let the FA know that the young man needed assistance with toileting so she could get the family's attention.

Sad, Sad situation


wodoggie November 15, 2009 at 10:30 am

I can see where the author is coming from even though her wording may not be the best. I'm a special education teacher, working with kids with moderate/intensive abilities and have a couple autistic students. They need to have stimulating activities to occupy their time and while they can have behavioral problems, they can be avoided with appropriate strategies. Shame on the young boy's parents. That's a type of child abuse.


lmiller November 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I have worked with autistic children and absolutely agree with the author that these parents were not doing enough to care for their child on the plane. He shouldn't have been sitting in soiled pants, should have had many engaging activities to occupy his time, and should have had an adult tending to his needs throughout the flight. I experienced a very similar situation on a flight recently (child screeching, kicking our seats violently, etc) and it was enough for my seatmate to whip around and ask her to control him. In the end of the flight, she notified her partner sitting in front of us that the flight attendant had some gum, and that's what calmed him down. Ah! Gum! You knew that gum would do the trick but you neglected to bring any on board? I feel for these parents but have no sympathy for their inability to think ahead. Her behavior was so entitled and unapologetic. Thanks to you, you aren't the only one having a flight from hell!


JVM November 16, 2009 at 9:04 am

I think the person posting this was very charitable in the descriptions and understanding that this was not the child's fault.

The parent's and family are the ones to blame here. They should not travel with the child, if they cannot properly care for him, etc…

It seems that most problems are not necessarily the fault of the children. It is the fault of the parents inability to provide adequate care and supervision to the child. Parents should quit making excuses for their children, be it autistic or not, and parent.


Katie August 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

What is your suggestion for families with severely handicapped children? Should they drive 2000 miles if necessary, and then when they get to a seacoast…what?

I'm not that sympathetic with some people being bratty in public, but as a sibling to a sometimes-violent autistic, I can assure you that what you had to endure for a matter of hours–hours!!–amounts to nothing in the face of a LIFETIME of 24-hour care for someone who may be violent. or have severe, severe behavior problems…yet if you turn him over to others, he may be the victim of abuse.

I don't think you are a bad person; I think that being cocooned from real-life problems like this has made you extraordinarily insensitive. I was actually looking up details/ something about trying to travel with someone autistic. This is what I get!

Think he needs to be controlled or needs better medication? Would you like to develop a soothing tablet that is nonmedicinal in the sense of having NO side effects?

Does he need to be on a separate flight? Would you like to lobby for airlines to begin providing flights specific to the severely disabled (in my family's case, the autism is SEVERE) and their families?

Until you want to do something to help with this–or any of the suffering in the world–you ought to keep your comments to yourself. It is really, really sad and surprising that you aren't thinking about the suffering of the family or the boy himself, only your own inconvenience.


xxx March 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm

my suggestion for families with severely disabled children is…

have an abortion WHEN/IF they find out through the usual screening methods during pregnancy. Sometimes you don't find out until after birth which is a sad reality

A child with disabilities to that extent will never be a productive member of society, will never have independence.. the sad truth is, they will only be a drain on societies resources.


Lisa April 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Shame on people like you!


chris May 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm

i do not know who you are and would never want to.your ignorant and down right mean, who tthe fuck r you to say they are not a productice members of society.shame on you cause i am sure u are not productive and a very mean heartless person.I have cerebral palsy and have contribute much to my community. you r a bully .if you have nothing better to say dont say anything/


Hunter November 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

@chris xxx, while crass, has a valid point. I do economic valuation in the legal field; my actual JOB is putting numerical (monetary) value on human lives. 1) not all people are inherently equally valuable, let alone vocationally. 2) not all people exist at a "break-even", let alone a "positive ledger". While I'm sure the parents think their little darling is the greatest thing since sliced bread, the truth of the matter is that if that plane made it to the scene of the crash the kiddo would be a five minute valuation in my in-box. Barring punitive damages for negligence on the part of the airline, next of kin would be lucky to get funerary expenses as a nuisance payment.

"Productive" is putting more in than you take out. "who tthe [sic] fuck r [sic] you to say they are not a productive members [sic] of society. [sic]"? ("English. Do you speak it, motherfucker?") Bluntly, I'm society's arbitrator on the matter.

As an analogy: take two dogs–a "purse dog" like a Yorkie, and the Caucasian Shepherds we use for security. The Yorkie eats your food, makes a lot of noise, and poops on the floor in the living room–they exist on the charity of people that think they're cute. Other than that they're worthless and will starve to death without constant attention. The CS is the last of the true war dogs, to the degree that 99.5% of the world should never own one. They are highly intelligent (to the degree where they can formulate independent action), highly territorial, highly protective, have a prey drive that is through the roof, and is the only breed that does not have to be trained to kill perceived threats to their "pack". They earn their keep, and can survive without human intervention anywhere that there are other animals to predate. Yorkies are not productive; Yorkies are pets.

1) Anything that does not exist at break-even is a pet.
2) Pets are strictly their owner(s)' problem. This becomes an issue when owner(s) get the idea that Society should subsidize and tolerate improper behavior from something that is not Society's problem.
3) Just because you insist it's Hugo Boss doesn't put clothes on the king.

tl/dr: When you argue a point that's easily, provably, incorrect, all you're doing is announcing that the kid flapping around in his own shit isn't the only retard in the room.


patsytp January 16, 2016 at 3:14 am

you've clearly only put you're comment on here for a reaction as you don't get a reaction any other way,- even your profile name of "xxx" wasn't enough to garner any sympathy when you posted stories. So, as we used to say in the Air Force, wind your neck in get back in your box, and let us sit on the lid and fasten it properly before we drop you over X. Understood?


James May 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Your Momma should've swallowed you


Traveler1 January 14, 2016 at 5:18 am

Katie…it does tend to be those that have been very "cocooned from real life problems" that are the loudest (and the lease informed) about real life problems.


Bob May 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Yes, they should drive 2000 miles. If anyone else disrupted the flight, they'd be arrested. Not my problem, not everyone's "deal with it" either.


LMT November 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

My only reaction to this story is to call you a dick.


Mike November 17, 2009 at 11:19 am

I am a 28 year old, high functioning autistic, and I really don't think you should blame the kid for all the problems he had on your flight. There are many forms of Autism, including Asperger's Disorder (an embellished name for high-functioning autism). There are also autistic individuals who are, unfortunately, less developed. This kid on the flight was one of those less-functioning autistics. While his parents should have provided better care to him during the flight, you must understand that I think the reason the kid acted the way he did was because he was overstimulated. That is, he was in a new environment, and a new situation. Although I am a very high functioning autistic, I do not take "sudden changes" or new situations very well. However, I am able to control these emotions, and try to understand the situation that "overstimulated" me. Only on rare occasions have I had outbursts, although I have had them. As I stated, this autistic kid on your flight was unable to realize that his actions and outbursts were inappropriate, mostly because of how his condition affected him; he likely did not understand. As an autistic, I understand completely why this boy on your flight acted the way he did. Overstimulation.


Kim October 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm

This really hit a strong note in my heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a 9 year old boy that is Autistic.. Amazing child on every level… Don't assume AUTISTIC is a bad thing and also DON'T ASUUME that hte parent doesn't want this to be easy on the flight…

I almost got removed last night from a flight because ALL I wanted was to have my husband, myself, and my son be in the same rows. The flight attendant was so very rude to me about it I finally told her that her attitude and rudeness was not right… MIND you I was not demanding this just telling her that it was a good thing for everybody on the flight… He definitely needed both of us…

The flight attendant needed a little more training on this issue as AUTISM is riising in this country… COME ON!! ALso, if this was your child who had crapped their pants think of how hard it is to change them in a airplane bathroom??? SERIOUSLY!


Kim October 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm

ALSO Mike thank you fort shedding some light on this… In a way that I totally understand… 😉 Hugs to you boy, gives me hope with my nine year old baby 😉


uhhuh November 18, 2009 at 10:42 am

all of you people need to shut up about them not giving the kid a break. HIS PARENTS DID NOT CHANGE HIS SHITTY DIAPER FOR CHRISTS SAKE!! they also failed to board prepared to keep him entertained and quiet. i dont see the person insulting the handicapped anywhere. the PARENTS are the assholes, not the kid. that is what i gathered from the story.

people are way too sensitive when it comes to disabilities. seriously. ever heard about the 40 something year old man that punched an infant in walmart? yeah, lets all defend the retard when his mother should have been more in control so that poor baby did not get attacked.

poor me and my handicapped child, its my excuse to be right in any situation. what a load of crap.


katie August 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Wow. All I can say is…wow. How would you propose that the mother get to WalMart? Will you stop by and care for the son?

I'm not saying that, ideally, he ought to be there in Wal Mart. I AM saying that your comments about the handicapped are extremely, incredibly rude. My mother, full time caretaker to someone severely autistic, has said, "No one has offered to take a day of my life for me." Unfortunately, she's right.

Unless you want to be a part of the solution…


Demotage November 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I think that many here should have more understanding. There is basically not enough information in this story to know who, if anyone, is 'to blame'. As Mike has alluded to, 'Autism' is not a simple thing. In fact, the expression of Autism is so varied from person to person, it is not even called Autism anymore by the medical community. Rather, it is referred to as "Autistic Spectrum Disorder", or ASD. This reflects the fact that the mixture of symptoms in each and every person is different, the severity of each symptom can vary from individual to individual. Some will have all the symptoms, some only some of them. This is all further complicated by the fact that ASD is co-expressed with other Basal Ganglia-associated disorders, such as ADHD, OCD, Tourette's syndrome, and others. In other words, if you have ASD, you also have a high likelihood of having OCD and/or Tourette's and/or ADHD (and PDD, Anxiety disorder and etc etc.).

So here is a likely scenario. The kid was severely Autistic and as a result not very functional. He likely had a severe expression of one of the classic ASD symptoms, an aversion to being touched or handled, along with a fear of unfamiliar situations. Clearly he did not have control of his bowels, which at his age, suggests a severe disability. It is likely that he also suffered from (at least) Tourette's syndrome, which would explain the periodic shrieks. Is the kid responsible for his behavior? He's doing the best of which he is capable.

Are the parents at fault? I'd be hesitant to blame them until I'd walked a day in their shoes. My own son is mildly ASD. He is not classic Asperger's (High functioning), although he is very functional. If you could put it on a scale of 1-10 of mild to severe ASD, he's a "1". Of course, we love him unconditionally, and I wouldn't trade him for anyone, but to be honest, he was (and continues to be at 20) a lot of work. As a parent, it wears you out. The divorce rate in families with an ASD child is 80-85%. Myself having a mildly affected child, I can't imagine how parents with a severely ASD child cope. It was difficult enough with a mildy affected child. So at a minimum, I'd have a little sympathy for them.

So why didn't they bring more toys? Probably because for their particular child, it doesn't help. If he's Tourette's he's going to shriek regardless. Furthermore in ASD children, the stimulation can make it even worse. It was likely the parent's experience that leaving him alone, or minimizing stimulation, was the best strategy for keeping him as calm as possible. They weren't necessarily being bad parents, they were simply doing what they have learned works the best for their particular child.

Why didn't they change his diaper? Knowing how trying it could be to get my own mildly affected son to wear something he didn't want to wear, I can imagine that just getting the diaper on this kid before the flight was a 60 minutes flailing and screaming match. They put the diaper on because they knew he did not have the control (either he lacked bowel control, or lacked the social awareness that crapping a diaper at his age was not socially acceptable). So now imagine trying to change that diaper in a cramped lavatory, in an unfamiliar situation (which is going to disturb an Autistic child). Would you have been more satisfied with 2 hours of flailing and murderous screaming coming from the back of the plane, with the result being feces and shredded diaper flung all over the lavatory? No. The reason that the parents didn't change the diaper is that not changing it was the least disturbing thing they could do. To try to change it would have been a nightmare.

Finally, there are those of you who may accept what I said above, but retort: then leave the kid home! First of all, you don't know why that family is flying – maybe they were taking their kid to a clinic. Second, it's the family's right to travel regardless of the circumstance – maybe they were just going to see Grandma. Sometimes, despite having a disabled child, you just have to go and live your life, and that includes the child. Finally, it continues to amaze me that people think that an airliner is some kind of privileged space. You know, when you are in public, you just have to deal with the public. You don't have a right to have things just the way you like. I mean, I sympathize. It is annoying to have a kid screaming and stinking. I don't like it either. But sometimes, that is just the way it is, and in public, you just have to deal with it.


katie August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I could not agree more.
I don't like inconsiderate behavior when it can be controlled…
But yeah, what you said.

As a side note, it is unBELIEVABLE to me how many call themselves pro-life–which I am as well–and roundly condemn the idea of executing the disabled in the womb (again, I agree)…but then when they see the disabled out and about, their reaction is, "Not anywhere near me! You need to have the kid, raise the kid, take care of the kid for life, but not anywhere where it might disturb me or make me uncomfortable!"


kim October 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm

WOW I can't even express how beautifully you worded this! THANK YOU! After coming home just today and dealing with almost getting removed from an airline JUST because I wanted to not be seperated from our son who has Asbergers, You couldn't have said it better… God bless you.


Ann September 6, 2013 at 1:14 am

Okay this makes sense but there should be non-autistic flights and non infant and non loud out of control kids flights for people who just want a relaxing trip. I get so enraged at people making noise and crapping themselves. I have misophonia. I am so sensitive to noise. It's my disability and autisitc people don't respect me so why should I respect them?


James May 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Ever hear of ear plugs? Oh, and autism is not ANYONES fault. You think you're entitled to a "quiet" flight or trip? Guess again. You want a quiet trip, then drive by yourself to wherever you're going. Stop blaming others for not "respecting your inability to put up with noise". "Respect" is earned; not demanded, especially from a person with a disability beyond their control. Such a delicate little porcelin doll…


Bob May 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Such an insanely entitled boy. I wonder how you would react if you were seated next to an uncontrolled autistic passenger that you did not know. Different story altogether.


Georgia June 21, 2014 at 9:07 pm

I could deal with noise that an austistic child would do. I can put on earphones and ignore it.
But, as I pay for a ticket on the plane must I be forced to smell poop for the whole flight? The child is handicapped, they should be able to go to another area of the plane and he can get his diaper changed. Why must passengers get sick from smelling poop. If one is on a bus and a passenger is nearby with poop, you can get off the bus and take the next. But please explain why do passengers do up in the air on a multi hour fight We are supposed to put up with it?


Mom of an ASD child November 21, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Demotage, thank you for posting that. I am about to get on a 5-hr flight with my 5-year-old, high-functioning autistic son (who also has severe ADHD). And honestly, I am dreading it. But he is my parents' only grandchild and they live 2000 miles away. Driving is not an option because of limited work leave. The last time we flew, my son was undiagnosed and unmedicated, and my husband and I made herculean efforts to keep him contained — it was a miserable, traumatizing experience for EVERYONE involved. He screamed, yelled, thrashed, kicked seats, and threw all the stuff I brought for him all around. We tried everything we possibly could. Luckily for us, the people around us – at least those we spoke to/ made eye contact with – were relatively understanding. I think it's because we were making highly visible efforts to keep him under control.

So what's the point of my posting this? My son, like Demotage's, would register a '1' on a 1-10 autism scale. And he was extremely difficult to control. Luckily, this time around he is diagnosed, on an excellent medication regimen, and we now have a great therapeutic team advising us on how to handle these kinds of situations. Still, I am dreading taking him on that plane.

So, please consider — in these types of cases, the parents aren't necessarily looking for a get-out-of-jail-free card to avoid disciplining or controlling their child. They may be doing the absolute best thing possible. Believe me, original poster — I am sure his parents were as miserable as you. Not to mention mortified and possibly overwhelmed. Parenting a 'special needs' child can be overwhelming and depressing business (you should see our therapy bills). My son is VERY difficult to parent, and he's high-functioning. My heart goes out to this boy and his parents, and I urge you — please — to have more compassion.


Jaci August 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Umm….and why can't they travel to see you? Seems to be the more practical thing to do, based on the circumstances.

That's what my parents do when it comes to my brother's kids, because they're still young enough where flying on a plane would be problematic. It's easier for a couple of senior citizens or a single person (me) to travel most of the time than a family of 4 anyways.


Tracey May 28, 2019 at 7:51 pm

Why can’t you just give him a sleep aid and knock him out for the flight? I’m sure the paediatrician could give you something safe and non reactive with his other medications.


Marta November 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Amen and Touche' to Mom and Demotage. Have a safe and good trip with your kiddo Mom


rick November 21, 2009 at 10:58 pm

ma'am, have you ever, oh I don't know, beat your child?

sick of this autism excuse, the new fad disease, whats next? fake paralyzed kids?


Jonathon February 18, 2015 at 8:37 pm

Mr have you ever or I don't know rung up Alcohol Anonymous or done Drug Rehab
you sound like you could do with it as you are spouting bullshit so I am assuming you are talking our your arse.

Bill Gates
Albert Einstien
Tony Blair
George Bush Senior
Baric Obama
Sr Isic Newton
Eric Clapton
Joe Satriani

and many more famous people all have various diffrent forms of High Functioning Autism, primarily Aspergers, though not only this. I have Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not otherwise Specified with traits of Aspergers, yet this is still classed as High Functioning.
Some people with Aspergers Syndrome might be Medium functioning like the world famous Ray Man, the Autistic Savant with the photographic memory.
Some people with Low functioning Autism may be extremely intelligent but not know how to communicate that intelligence and that can be incredibly frustrating.
There are 39 categories of Autism, each has an average number of, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, totalling 54 and each of those has 4 possible levels Severe, Low, Medium and High. You can not look at a person and know what type of autism they have without knowing that person or their medical history. The best you can do Is identify that a person has autism.
So if you take 39 multiply by 54 and than by 4 you get 8424 and that is the total number of possible types of autism that are labelled for diagnosis. With that in mind I think it is fair to say that Autism is not an Excuse, nor is is it a Disease, it is a Unique malformation of the wiring of neurons to synapses in the brain, how this malformation occurs is unique to each person but the symptoms of such malformations are labelled with such names as Medium Functioning Child Hood Disintegration Disorder or High Functioning Rett Syndrome, or High Functioning Angelmen Syndrome, these are a few forms of autism you can see, but most of the 8424 Diagnosis's for autism are invisible, and that's why many people think we are strange, or weird because we don't fit in and we don't appear to have anything physically wrong with us.
But Invisible Disability does exists just look at a friend with two hearing aids with out them he looks normal but he cant hear a thing and is disabled. Just because you can not see the problem does not mean it is not their.
You take that view you end up thinking like a cat, "If I can not see the animal it can not see me" and that is False logic.


Hunter November 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Largely worthless comparisons–one can't accurately diagnose deceased historical figures, while your remaining list are all "internet" rather than clinical diagnoses. Hence your list is exactly as worthless as that recent paper that was attempting to claim that both Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were on the Autism scale. There is simply no way of determining that outside of groundless conjecture.


James May 6, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Your daddy should've shot you into the bedsheets.


Demotage November 22, 2009 at 7:53 am


You have no idea what you are talking about. I hope it never happens to you that you have a child affected.


kIM October 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm

can't believe that comment came out of somebody's mouth! REALLY????


david November 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm

demo, dont listen to rick or anyone that doesnt understand that its is very hard to handle someone with a disability like autism

yes i do believe that in some cases doctors are over diagnosisng diseases but when it is something major like autism (no matter what part of the spectrum) than i strongly believe that the doctors a very accurate with their diagnosis…..what i mean is, they are giving out ADD and ADHD more than i feel is accurate, just because a kid is running around alot doesnt mean he has ADHD it means that they are being a kid….however when it is something as major as autism than there are more tests involved and higher level of diagnostics, its a severe disorder no matter which way you look at it

i am sorry about your son, i dont know about it at the level you do, but my cousin has autism and i am very close to him and the family and i see and am involved in the activities, its a whole crew of round the clock supervision, he had to go to a special school, was home schooled, and everything, but we all love him and understand that its not his fault, we knew that the best way was to try and be strong and try to get him to understand the basic rules and when he gets unruly "threaten" him by saying timeout, or naughty chair, and if that didn't work than we would just let him do what he was doing as this was the best alternative, otherwise he would kick and scream and make the situation prolonged, harder to control and more dangerous

we also knew he liked to follow some form of schedule and if you say your going to do something than you have to follow through, when they travel to sydney from london they always go on singapore airlines to singapore and he will only go if they promised him that they will go to toys r us, and he knew that he couldnt act up or he wouldnt go, so he was normally good on the planes, yes he was entertained by things but its alot harder than it sounds

so if anyone says that people are overreacting, its the new excuse, or whatever, than i would dreed to imagine what they would do in that situation and if their opinion would change, i hope they never are in that situation just like i hope noone is in that situation, but unfortunatly people have to deal with this, and it may look like they are not controling their kid with a disorder when in fact they are and are handling it in a way that would create less of a disturbance than the alternative


j January 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

i'm glad some decent human beings have voiced an opinion here, austism doesnt have a pause button, so nice that you have a mom bag, have you even considered what it must be like for a mom of an autistic child oh thats right you havent a damn clue what your talking about.


gin March 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The OP never insulted the child. And if your kid is that severly disabled, you should handle it. So, shut up.

And autism is being treated how ADHD was treated. Every kid who can’t focus or is shy is now called Autistic. I should know, my oldest little brother has asperbergers.

The other one doesn’t but was told he does. Why? Cuz he’s fucking ten.

Autism, for people unused to it, is annoying. I just got exposed to the stims, and fits, and school issues.

So have a little compassion for the OP, when yer not used to it, especially when the parents are fucking up, its hard.

Btw I love my lil brothers and they are taken care of very well.


katie August 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

This is a public forum; "shut up" doesn't have a place where hate speech and vulgarity are not being invoked.
I have not known of one single person–ever–who has defecated in his pants without having a neurological or (serious) physical condition. Wanting to make it to the bathroom and not smell like poop is pretty basic, even for very bratty and very rebellious kids.
What on earth makes you think you know and can diagnose the disability from the OP?? "And if your kid is that severly disabled, you should handle it."–What on earth does that even mean? Physically restrain him, even if he is stronger? Restrain him, even when that means the marshals might come to restrain YOU in the face of his screaming and shrieking? Stay home all the time? But wait–what about groceries?

Would you like to run this family's errands for them so that they can "handle" it? The level of insensitivity and selfishness is utterly unbelievable. Am I critical of how some have handled things with disabled kids (like an autistic boy AND his neurotypical twin brother being permitted to kick their mom repeatedly in fits)? YES! Do I think people have the right to judge who have not walked even ten steps in their shoes? NO!

At least act like you think about someone else once in a while.
Glad your brothers are well taken care of. I am glad that they are also not severely disabled like the autistic boy in the OP, or my sister…if they were you would have seen all of this before.


xxx March 22, 2013 at 8:47 pm

please shut up


Steve August 21, 2012 at 7:11 am

The author has a point even though he is a little insensitive. What I’m trying to say is the parents should take more responsibility, they are responsible to keep him a little more occupied and not ignore what’s going on and let him act however he wants, there are ways to calm a child like this and it’s not the child’s fault. I have never had a problem with someone with disabilities it’s the normal children and their parents tgst I can’t stand! I hate flying anymore, kids are loud obnoxious brats a lot of times and the parents don’t even make an attempt to correct or control them. Just let them kick seatbacks, scream, cry and run wild! If I had acted like that as a child I would have been took to restroom and calmed down and if still acted up would have got a good spanking. Kids never get consequenced anymore, timeouts don’t work, need grounded from everything they have and if that doesn’t work then u lite their little ass up!


Hack August 25, 2012 at 11:54 am

Demotage- thank you! At least someone has some sense!
Give the kid a break! He’s autistic.
Come on.


Kim October 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

omg… This forum is so sad. If you know nothing about Autism, ADHD, etc, then find another forum to post on… All I wanted on an airline last night was that my husband and I could sit with our son… Somehow the seating got screwed up… This particular flight attendent was not very nice very condesending and downright rude… I just told her that if we were all together it would make the flight much more pleasant… She got mad at me for telling her she was being rude and almost had me removed froim the plane! WHAT? where did that come from… THOSE that are making comments about Autism like they are experts really need to not post… You have NO CLUE how hard it is…. They are the most beautiful children EVER and don't have a choice in how they act… Shame on you and YOUR comments!


Lily September 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm

When it comes to Autism and empathy, it's not a malicious disregard for others, it's a genuine lack of understanding, which has been brought about by the Autism. That being said, empathy itself can't be learned, but certainly a child can be taught to consider the needs and feelings of others in different ways.

Autism does not excuse this. The lack of care for the boy's soiled pull-ups is disgusting regardless of circumstance, but an autistic child who's been neither taught sufficient coping mechanisms nor offered anything to occupy their mind in a situation like this is both damaging to the child, and a public disturbance.


Dilkygirl May 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

Irony? The OP complaining that someone with Autism has no empathy for her. Autism is a social and communication disorder – they’re not being Autistic to annoy you! I have 4 children, 2 with Aspergers. We are not bad parents. Even our Autistic kids are polite and well mannered but when things get too much for them they kick-off and whilst we do our best to manage this we aren’t always successful. Sure if you didn’t know they were Autistic you’d think they were brats. But they are Autistic and that’s the point. Just because it is a hidden disability you can’t deny it exists. If the boy was in a wheelchair you’d probably moan that he couldn’t get up and walk if he was causing you an inconvenience! Autistic children, through no fault of their own, struggle to understand that they are not the centre if the universe. What’s your excuse for being so unspeakably selfish?


James May 12, 2014 at 7:53 am

Why should anyone want or need to know the diagnosis of other's children? It shouldn't matter why the behavior was inappropriate and/or disruptive — it was inappropriate and/or disruptive to others, making it a flight from hell for them.


Leanne Strong May 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I have Asperger Syndrome (High-Functioning Autism), and my family was on planes A LOT when I was younger. And I was usually pretty good on planes. I LOVE flying! There was this one time when I was really little, when we were flying home to Upstate New York after a trip to Florida, where I was screaming, "I WANNA TAKE THE RENTAL CAR," all through the airport in Orlando. I also sometimes get a little antsy on planes and smile a lot because I LOVE FLYING SO MUCH, but overall I was usually pretty good on planes (still am). Also, I think a big reason why we were on planes a lot was because we had a lot of relatives who didn't live within a good driving distance for us. My parents owned a wholesale greenhouse when I was growing up (and they still own it), so because of time constraints, we would probably have to fly if we even wanted to go to Disney World or something.

Whoever wrote this article, I'm sorry, but to say that people with disabilities shouldn't travel on planes is very inconsiderate and discriminatory. Sure it's ok to be annoyed (I would be, too), but in life, things can't always go your way. Sometimes, you have to learn to deal with setbacks like this. Also, I think you're right, the parents should've brought a few stimulating activities for their kid to do during the flight-not just a glowing necklace. But they probably thought that it would overwhelm him, especially because he either did not know how to handle overwhelming situations, or because he wasn't aware that his behaviors weren't appropriate for the situation.


Luke May 29, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Ugh, Autism. Scream, scream, scream. Shriek, shriek, shriek. All day long. This is what happens when you pump your infants full of vaccines that turn their brains to mush. And scientists are now trying to say that autism is somehow “a leap in human evolution”?


Jack May 30, 2014 at 1:50 am

What an uneducated reply. I luckily do not have a child with Autism and hope you never have too either, some of the greatest inventors and scientists in the world have been autistic. What a fool.


Kevin January 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Saying someone has autism is almost meaningless unless you know how severe their situation. My grandson is a teenage nonverbal who must wear a diaper. He makes loud noises, continually attempts to remove his diaper (wet or new), and constantly tries to get naked. He receives education and is medicated, yet has made very little progress. As stated by others, when not acting out, he is kind, gentle, and loving. However, he has callouses on his hand from where he bites it when acting out. He occasionally hits others, and wakes at all hours of the day and night. There is no single way to calm him or silence him, and unless you have every tried to get two full grown adults into a bathroom on an airplane, you have no idea how impossible such a situation can become. The comment comparing a sensitivity to sound disability with autism is silly…the person with the sensitivity to sound has a functioning, rational brain…while someone with severe autism may not even know there are others around them. Empathy towards others? You need awareness to trigger empathy, and sadly, severely autistic people are unaware that what they do even bothers you.


Chris January 31, 2015 at 2:17 am

I have to agree with Kevin. You don't know what's affecting him. Autism is a very vague term. As for why they didn't have things to entertain him…maybe there wasn't much they could do. Remember Autistic people are generally very routed in their routines. Departures from their routines are unsettling for them. Unless he's used to flying, this can be a severe departure from his "norm".

And can you blame the family for not changing the pull up? Where were they supposed to take a teenage-sized boy and change his diaper? The lavatory, in all of it's spacious wonder? Or right there in the row? I'm sure if they would have done that, people would have been way more uncomfortable.

When you buy a ticket, you don't buy the rights to the plane. The airline is agreeing to take you and your bags from one place to another safely. It isn't guaranteeing you are going to have a comfortable, relaxing and disturbance-free flight.


gail March 4, 2015 at 4:53 pm

changing a baby on a flight ok changing toddler more difficult a teenager crikey


givemeyourking August 24, 2015 at 1:09 am

We seriously need to bring back mental institutions and fund healthcare properly instead of throwing a SSI check at families and expecting them to deal with all the problems of having a severely mentally retarded child by themselves.


Amy February 18, 2016 at 4:14 pm

I totally agree with you. I think that kid was more severely physically and mentally handicapped beyond ASD because nobody past the age of 3 should be pissing and shitting in a diaper unless they have urinary incontinence and/or a bowel disorder. I think part of the problem so many kids these days are misdiagnosed when it comes to things such as ADHD and Austism. They never ever want to say someone is retarded (even if they are) because it's become taboo and non-poltically correct. It seems Doctors are so quick label anyone who is not "normal" and therefore make excuses for their behavior instead of trying to correct it. Just because some has strange behavior, outbursts, and can't make friends doesn't mean they are ASD and phycologists are quick to make that diagnosis. I think about 1 in 70 kids these days (mostly boys) are so-called ASD which can't be right. For example, one husband's sons supposedly has Aspergers which I don't even think is the case. I think he's seriously just a lazy, weird, socially inept, geeky, know-it-all, asshole, poor hygiene, and no manners. He was raised by his mother who is stuck in her own world and doesn't pay attention to her kids which explains a lot of it. He never goes outside or really does much of anything except sit there on his phone or computer; instead sports, girls, and masculine things he is obsessed with My Little Ponies and anime. He's actually not welcome in my home anymore mainly because he trashs out the house and steals. He certainly knows better he's just disrespectful and doesn't want to.


James May 6, 2016 at 10:29 pm

I hope an autisic kid hugs you in the store one of these days…


Alicia August 4, 2017 at 10:08 am

I totally agree it is like being in prison when we can't do things simply because we don't want to upset people when we have to bring our child out in the open. I don't care anymore I have a life to live to, and nobody is giving us SSI because of my husbands former income, and 401K we have to spend every dime we get before we even get anything.


Hunter November 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm

If you live in the United States, please schedule a consultation with an attorney that deals in SSI/Disability practice. (Initial consultations are typically free.) It is likely that your assets can be placed in a trust or various other legal instruments such that you will be able to make an SSI claim. Additionally, depending on the situation, it is possible that your kiddo would be eligible for Disability individually regardless of your (parental) financial situation. Not in my wheelhouse, as I mostly deal with dead people, but the government has been screwing y'all out of money your entire working life–may as well see if you can get some of it back now that you need it.


Bridget March 15, 2018 at 9:05 am

I agree with the posters who all said it was the fault of the boy's neglectful parents! Crap is a biohazard and sitting too long in it is unhealthy and violates OSHA law! This boy should have had more than a shiny necklace to occupy him.


Lauren May 12, 2019 at 12:21 am

I'm a step-parent to a severe, non-verbal autistic 11yr old boy. He's basically a 115lb 2yr old. He just recently started wearing underwear but still poops in the floor, he tries to control himself at least in that aspect. In public, he can be a general pain in the ass. I absolutely sympathize with the poor people who were forced to sit on the plane with that kid. His parents/guardians should've been better prepared. You know how your kid is, autistic or not, & you plan ahead for whatever might happen. Personally, I would've sedated him just before take off & found a way to lull him to sleep through the flight. Anyone who is all "OMG! I'm so offended! Why can't you be more tolerant?" GET REAL. Plane tickets aren't cheap, I too would expect to not have to endure this kind of crap, literally. It's rude & disrespectful for anyone to expect people to just put up with an annoying kid, special needs or not.
& I can say this because I live with a squealing, obnoxious, constantly bouncing autistic kid every day..I absolutely would sedate him for something like this & it's ridiculous that you had to deal with that.


Scott July 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

I have mild autism, a form called autistic savant syndrome. Savant syndrome is extremely rare.

Savant syndrome is a stimulation and sensory disorder that causes memory to be processed at extremely advanced levels, as well as IQ ranges reflecting 100 – 189 range. I can compute quadratic equations in my head.

However, there are those who are completely on the other end of the spectrum, non-verbal, both bowel and urinary incotanant, needs constant monitoring to prevent self harm etc.

New behaviors, are exceptionally difficult to teach as communication is a large barrier. A lot of tantrums and fits are associated with the communication difficulties.

Sensory (Which refers to various reactions to: touch, smell, taste, vision, texture, sound etc.) Present excess barriers to teaching crucial life milestones to those who suffer from it.

There are specially designed devices that are made to help aid in communication that works with pictures that are ran through sentance building software.

These devices are extremely expensive though. They also have apps you can download that do the same thing, but they can be just as costly. There is a few that are free of charge. Consult your app store for more information.

As for incontinence, I have to wear diapers because if medical problems, there is nothing that can really be done about incontinence. I always carry extra diapers with me everywhere I go.

Not every lavatory is suitable for changing a diaper. Standing while changing is a challenge because the diaper can't really be affixed properly enough to prevent leakage.


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