Family: Airline Discriminated Against Child With Down Syndrome

A California family insists American Airlines discriminated against it when the airline wouldn't allow a disabled boy to board its plane. The family was trying to fly from New Jersey to California and decided to upgrade two of its three tickets to first class. However, at the gate they were prevented from boarding.

American Airlines employees said the 16-year-old disabled boy was a "security risk" because he was running around the gate area. The parents dispute this, saying their son was calm and in control.

"The problem is this pilot thought my son might not be like most people. He didn't want a disabled person disturbing other passengers in first class," said the boy's father.

This story is especially sad, not just because one family was inconvenienced, but because it shows that many people still view disabled children in a negative light.

Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder often characterized by developmental and physical impairments. Pregnant women may have their unborn children screened for Down syndrome, or a blood test after birth can help diagnose the condition.

While people with Down syndrome commonly exhibit physical characteristics of the disorder, it is a "snowflake" condition. The extent of developmental disability is different in each child, but early intervention and a supporting family greatly improves the quality of life for children and families coping with Down syndrome.

If your child was born with a disability caused by a medical negligence, contact an experienced Michigan birth injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

McKeen & Associates, P.C., is a highly regarded birth injury law firm that helps families and children throughout the U.S.  Based in Detroit, it has a staff of skilled attorneys that willingly travel and use technology to represent malpractice victims throughout the country. View some of the firm's verdicts and settlements.

Source: USA Today, "American Airlines Boots Family With Down Child From Flight," Gosia Wozniacka, Sept. 5, 2012

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