I feel for the mom having a difficult time controlling an autistic child. HOWEVER, as a FA, the mom has to understand that the FAA rules are the rules, and can't be "adjusted" to deal with someone with special needs.
I've had parents of children tell me they'll wait until we're taking off to fasten a child's seatbelt since they can't sit still and they don't want to aggrevate them more. Hellooo? When I explain that it can't be done that way, they make me out to be the bad guy with the kid. Oh well.. :whatever:
I feel really bad for this family and I wish parents of special needs kids the very best. That said, I think this was absolutely the correct decision. Rules are rules for a reason, and they exist for the passengers safety, as well as those around him. I DO think that at least a cursory part of training should deal with special needs - simply for the sake of the FA's that are working those flights, it would perhaps give them understanding of certain things to make their jobs easier. I have been told increasingly by FA's to "take off your telephones", when in fact they are cochlear implants. The FA's have all been nice, and I do not mind explaining to them at all, but how would they know if I were BS'ing them? That is where it would perhaps benefit them to get a brief glimpse of medical products as well as behaviour patterns of certain people. Being in the biotech industry I can tell you that there are some devices that are fine for flying (pacemakers, cochlear implants, insulin pumps) but others (neuro-prosthetics from the company I work for) that can not be utilized in flight. There are going to be more products coming that will require at least some knowledge of what can and can't be used while flying.