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JetBlue boots autistic girl from flight: what we can learn

JetBlue makes a tough call when an autistic child becomes upset, highlighting how little most people know about autism, leaving much room for companies to learn about it to better accommodate autistic employees or customers.

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When JetBlue and an upset autistic child collide

When Emily Galindo and her husband asked if they could be seated together with their thirteen year old autistic daughter as they boarded a JetBlue flight, the crew tried to accommodate them. They, however, were only able to seat mother and daughter, Mia, together. Mia’s father was about ten rows ahead of this wife and child, and therefore not within his daughter’s sight.

Mia is autistic. Being rational and reasonable are skills that have to be taught, and even if an autistic child has memorized certain situations for the purpose of social rules, some situations, like this one are brought on too suddenly for an autistic child or individual to utilize his/her memorized skills. To Mia, her dad was gone. In the stress of the situation, she could only accept that if she couldn’t see him, he wasn’t there.

Stress, worry, and the unexpected caused Mia to have an outburst. She used only sign language and an I-pad for communication. To get the message across that she was angry, she refused to put on her seatbelt to prepare for taxiing. She actually had a good rationale. She wanted her dad on the plane; the plane won’t leave the terminal without all seatbelts buckled; she didn’t buckle her seatbelt. She wasn’t rebelling. She was communicating the best way she knew how.

Accommodating autism is tricky

Ultimately, the family was asked to leave the plane citing the enraged child was a possible danger to other passengers, and in the aftermath the family, the crew, and the passengers were left wondering how the situation could have been handled more successfully.

In the defense of JetBlue, they did initially try to accommodate the family, but autism is tricky to accommodate. They can’t just serve a special meal or call a skycap upon arrival. As the well known saying goes, “If you’ve seen one autistic child, you’ve seen one autistic child.” Autism isn’t a visible disability, especially on the higher functioning end of the spectrum. It is silent until it isn’t. It looks normal until it doesn’t.

To the blind eye, it looks like bad parenting, although for Emily to have gotten Mia through a family vacation and onto a plane took days, weeks, even months of the most patient, loving, and skilled kind of parenting there is. Emily, in retrospect, may have some different decisions, but she was tired. Tired like no parent of neurologically typical children can fathom.

It was a difficult call for the airline to escort the family off the flight. Mia did need to get off the plane in order to calm down and refocus. Just like a person having a panic attack or a PTSD sufferer would need a change of scenery to find calm.

Companies should gain a better understanding of autism

We understand panic and PTSD better now, but there was a time when we didn’t—a time when PTSD war veterans were excommunicated for their efforts, ignored, and labeled alcoholics or just plain messed up. Now any one of the general population would be appalled at the unfair treatment of a PTSD sufferer. That time hasn’t come yet for autism.

Until then, companies, brands, businesses, and schools need continuous education. We all have professional education, in-services, and lectures on equal rights. How many of us, depending on our industry, are still being made to check a yearly box that says we have been trained in bloodborne pathogens, STDS, affirmative action, and practice drills? Hearing these things repeatedly seems asinine. And, here’s hoping that in the coming years, we are all so well learned on the fair treatment of those with silent disabilities that we roll our eyes at the mention of the annual training.

Because we are all uneducated until we aren’t.

Kristyl Barron holds a BA in English Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MHR in Counseling/Organizational Management from the University of Oklahoma. Barron has been writing professionally since 2008, and projects include a memoir entitled Give Your Brother Back His Barbie and an in progress motivational book called Aspies Among Us.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. BawldGuy

    July 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    The airline tried to accommodate them? Really? How hard would it have been to seat Mom, Dad, and the daughter in one row? This is beyond stoopid.

  2. Emmanuel Fonte

    July 15, 2013 at 11:10 am

    no one is “autistic”! It’s the equivalent of saying you are cancerous. You have cancer, you have autism.

  3. Pondering_It_All

    July 20, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Really? Jet Blue “tried” to accomodate them, but couldn’t? They solved the problem by kicking them off the flight completely, but they couldn’t just order three other individual passengers to change seats with them. That is beyond ridiculous, and makes those Jet Blue employees look like idiots and liars.
    Its not like they would have even had to split up a group of three, since I am sure there were many rows containing three people traveling alone or just two of the three people together.

  4. Lisa Pulitzer

    August 21, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I find this story sickening. I have recently traveled aboard Jet Blue with my two children, and we have been separated on most of our flights. My daughter has an airborne peanut allergy and is already terrified at the prospect of being on a flight where someone might open a bag of nuts or a candy bar, and even then, the flight attendants cannot accommodate a seat change so that she can sit with a parent. Additionally, passengers on this airline are equally horrible, refusing to change their pre-selected seat to accommodate a scared young traveler. Shame on the lot of you.

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ClickUp team productivity app is gorgeous and wildly efficient

(BUSINESS NEWS) Seeking to improve your productivity and speed up your team, ClickUp is an inexpensive option for those obsessed with efficiency.

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Back again to obsess over productivity apps – ClickUp, is a project management tool seeking to knock the frustration out of PM. It’s getting some good reviews, so I gave it a try for a week by setting up my current job search as a project and getting a feel for the app. And as you’ve read in my other reviews, we will address features and design.

On the feature front, ClickUp offers a pretty standard set up of tools for a productivity app. What stands out first and foremost are the status options. In general, most productivity statuses are simple: not started, started, in progress, done, etc.

But ClickUp lets you set up custom statuses that match your workflow.

For example, if you’re doing instructional design projects, you may assign projects based on where they are flowing in an ADDIE model, or if you are a Realtor, you may have things cataloged by sold, in negotiation, etc.

Customization is king and custom status is the closest you get to building your own app. And if you like it simple, you don’t have to customize it. The assigned comments feature lets you follow up on specific comments that originate action items – which is useful in team collaborations.

You can also assign changes to multiple tasks at once, including changing statuses (I would bulk assign completion tasks when I finished applications that I did in batches). There a lot of features here, but the best feature is how the app allows you to toggle on and off features that you will or won’t use – once again, customization is front and center for this platform.

In terms of design and intuive use, ClickUp nailed it.

It’s super easy to use, and the concept of space is pretty standard in design thinking. If your organization uses Agile methodology, this app is ready for you.

In terms of view, you can declutter the features, but the three viewing modes (list, box, and board) can help you filter the information and make decisions quickly depending on what role you have on a board or project. There is also a “Me” board that removes all the clutter and focuses on your tasks – a great way to do focused productivity bursts. ClickUp describes itself as beautifully intuitive, and I can’t disagree – both the web app and mobile app are insanely easy to use.

No complaints here.

And the horizon looks good for ClickUp – with new features like image markup, Gannt charts (!!!!!! #nerdalert), and threaded comments for starts.

This application is great, and it’s got a lot of growth coming up to an already rich feature base. It’s free with 100MB of storage, but the $5 fee for team member per month that includes team onboarding and set up (say you’re switching from another platform) and Dropbox/Google Docs integration? That’s a bargain, Charlie.

ClickUp is on the way up and it’s got it all – features, a beautifully accessible UI, relentless customization, and lot of new and upcoming features. If you’re into the productivity platform and you’re looking for a new solution for your team, go check it out.

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Should you alter your business travel due to the Coronavirus?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Got a business trip coming up? Worried about the coronavirus spoiling those plans? Stay up to date and safe with this cool site!

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The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University has created a website that tracks one of the biggest trends of 2020: the coronavirus. Also known as 2019-nCoV, this disease has already spread to over 40,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 900 deaths (as of when this article was published, anyway.)

Not to mention, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that we still don’t know exactly how the virus spreads from person-to-person. In fact, there’s quite a bit we don’t know about this disease and although some people are reported as recovered, it’s only a small fraction compared to how many are sick.

So, what’s so great about this tracker? Well, first of all, it updates in real time, making it easy to keep track of everything we know about confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It’s chock full of statistics and visuals, making the information easy to digest. Plus, with a map front and center, it lets you know exactly where there have been reported outbreaks – and how many people have been diagnosed.

Because the site sticks to cold hard facts like statistics and maps, it also means you can avoid the racism and general panic that’s accompanied news of this outbreak.

This is a great tool for staying informed, but it’s also extremely helpful if you’re going to be traveling for work. As the virus continues to progress, you’ll be able to see just how many cases of coronavirus there are in the areas you’re planning to visit, which will allow you to plan accordingly. Even if you don’t feel the effects, you can still risk passing it to other people.

(In fact, the CDC recommends those traveling from certain areas in China practice “social distancing” when they return to the US, avoiding public spaces like grocery stores, malls and movie theaters.)

Of course, if you have something planned several months from now, don’t cancel your conference plans just yet. A lot can happen in that amount of time, so avoid the urge to check the website every couple hours. It’s supposed to be a tool for staying informed, not staying stressed out.

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New startup curates resources to simplify any remote job search

(BUSINESS NEWS) Finding a remote job that supports travel has never been so easy with this new remote friendly job-finding website, Remote Planet.

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Have you ever wanted to travel the world only to have your boss completely reject your request to work remotely? Or maybe you’re not working right now and you’re having a hard time finding a job that will allow you travel? Well, let me tell you, you’re not alone!

As 2020 begins, it’s pretty clear that remote working is not only an option; it can be a way of life that can not only empower an employee, but also increase efficiency and production for their company.

15 years ago, finding a remote job was almost like spotting a unicorn. It was an extremely rare opportunity – one that very few had the pleasure of experiencing. But with technology growing so quickly, and with the benefits being so clear (for both employer and employee) companies are quickly making changes that allow their employees to live and work almost anywhere they’d like – as long as there’s a good Internet connection.

Because of this, working while traveling has never been so easy, and with a massive uptick in dedicated remote workforces (we’re up to 18% of the U.S. workforce being remote), it only makes sense why websites like RemotePlanet.io are becoming so popular.

Remote Planet is an online platform that allows you to search for a job that is 100% remote. Their goal is not only to help find you a job that meets you needs, but also to provide “Curated Data for Remote, Digital Nomads & Travellers”.

J.P. Aulet is the freelance web developer who created Remote Planet. In an interview with him, where I asked him about the website, he said “RemotePlanet.io helps digital nomads (DN), remote workers, travelers and others to find the best resources in different categories, like remote companies, articles, insurances, housing and co-workings, among other things.”

When asked why he created his website, he said “Since I quit my job 2 years ago, I’ve been traveling and working as a [digital nomad], and since then, I curated a lot of interesting and helpful websites that help me with my travels, and I wanted to share with others to make it easier to start their remote journey.”

The website takes a Pinterest-like approach to helping its users find jobs, too, making it a very visual experience. What I mean by this is, the platform appears to aggregate data from 3rd party sites, like Remote.co and Remote.com and filters through their data for remote jobs. Whether it’s automatic or manual is unknown, but the important thing is that Aulet then publishes this data to his site in a sort of board that allows you to click the link, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or “like” it.

In addition, it looks to pulls in data that remote workers should stay on top of, like various tools, and companies that fully endorse the “work from anywhere” lifestyle.

remote job tools

But the coolest thing about this site is that it takes a lot of the searching work away for people who already otherwise have busy lives. After all, given the nature of the lifestyle and the level of importance travel is to those who seek this type of work, looking for a remote job and traveling at the same time can keep one pretty occupied.

So, whether you’ve been looking for a remote job for a while, or you’re just getting started, we highly suggest checking out Remote Planet for, at the very least, their tools and resources.

Now, with all of that said, their website won’t be any help to those who still have difficult bosses or work for companies who are adamantly against work from home situations, so if this scenario sounds familiar, we suggest checking out this guide on how to convince your boss to let you work remotely. We wish you the best of luck in convincing your boss to loosen the reigns.

On the chance the meeting doesn’t go so well (hey, let’s face it, it happens), and you’re considering another job that has much more flex, we also recommend reading this recent story on “How to crush your next remote job interview.”

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