But we DID disability training!
Yes, they actually said that to me, after I had a seizure after I had a meltdown because my stupid airline made me miss my flight-I suggested, via someone reading what I was typing (I am always nonverbal post seizure. ALWAYS) that perhaps their front desk people needed some training re: invisible disabilities. The title is her response. Mine, which vocal proxy did not read was “My ass” followed by “either they did a piss poor job or they need to do it again.”
Read on for Kassiane’s entire article!
I flew US Airways to Boston from Spokane, WA for hanging out with a friend and the national ASA conference. The guy in Spokane was WONDERFUL, even upgraded me to first class when I had a half hour layover, and called them to tell them to hold the plane till they scanned my ticket. Good thing, as it was a good quarter to half mile between gates and my flight went in late. The flight crews themselves, both directions, were pretty good if a bit patronizing. But the desk people in Boston, they really SUCKED.
See, what happened is this: I had a 6:40 AM flight. America West and US Airways are partners. So we waited in the US Airways line and then they sent us over to America West. This was at about 6:35, traffic was TERRIBLE. My friend told the people at America West that I had 5 minutes to make a plane. “Wait in line” they say. And we waited for over half an hour, because they were so busy getting people on a 7 AM flight to Vegas. Happy gamblers are repeat customers? I don’t know.
So. We wait until long after I miss the flight, because they don’t LISTEN. Something that bears mention at this point is that I *cannot* get up really early, my choices are miss whatever or stay up all night. I took the latter option. Lack of sleep makes people easier to “set off” so to speak. The first desk person we saw was totally unhelpful, she said she couldn’t get me on a plane till 8 PM, I’d get home at 1 AM MDT. My ride back here to Montana can NOT drive in the dark. They had a lot of trouble with that concept. She got snottier and snottier and offered about 5 options that all ended between 10PM and 3AM. At this point there is crumpling and tears and “I just want to go HOME!” fairly loudly.
With me so far? So, I want to go home, and clearly this is very threatening, because this equally stupid desk lady snaps at me to calm down. Bad Idea. Feel the power of my roar: “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!!”. We had told them over 10 times that I’m autistic. We had told them over 20 times that I needed to get home. And what does Moron Number Two do? “If you don’t calm down right now I’m calling the police.” Police kill people like me, dumbass. Well, what came out was “Oh that’s brilliant. Arrest or kill someone for YOU making her miss her flight. Gods am I glad I’m not NT”. Not helpful, but neither were any of them.
Then their managerial person who’s had, like, actual training tells my friend and I to go sit in these chairs and they’ll see what they can do. But wait. On the way to the chairs there’s a clonic-tonic seizure. A rather long one, I heard. So they bring even MORE useless people: paramedics. Unless you have phenobarb on you there isn’t a damn thing that can be done about my seizures except waiting them out. I wake up nonverbal and with a hangover, sign “what the hell??” to my friend, who verbally informs me that I had a seizure. My hands say “no shit”. So there’s me signing her verbal plus sign for 5 minutes or so and the paramedic asks if I’m deaf. Very shortly after reading both of my medicalerts, neither of which mentions deafness. No, numbnuts, I’m postictal. This is why I am not allowed to type at people immediately after a seizure. They make me sign a thing that says I refuse treatment (what are they going to do? Look at me and listen to accounts and say “yep, that was a seizure”? I mean really…) and they go away. After asking 10 times variants of was I sure, was I allowed to make my own medical decisions, et cetera.
Then shows up curly headed managerial woman, as my friend and I are watching gymnastics videos and I’m typing some very rude things. “well there’s 9 AM through here, and 9:30 through here, and you’d be home by 4″. Gee thanks. It’s 9:15. She doesn’t talk to me at all, just to my friend. Autistic and epileptic=not really there, clearly. She makes demeaning comments on my ability to self administer meds (something I’ve done since I’ve been on them) and my ability to travel independantly-which I have done for 5 or 6 years now. NOT too impressed. This is when I suggest the disability training, since clearly the concept of an invisible disability is currently beyond the comprehension of their desk staff-typed exactly that way, mocking her for thinking I’m stupid. Big words. More than 2 syllables.
“But we DID disability training”.
If I’d been in a chair they’d have been falling over each other to get me to my plane on time. If I had crutches, a walker, a cane, whatever. And they’d have tolerated a lot more than an airport shaking “don’t tell me what to do!”, were the difference obvious. But epilepsy and autism are invisible and SCARY, and make me a danger to myself or others somehow, and frighten them. So it’s ‘oh god, get rid of the autistic person and talk to the normal (ha. she’s also autistic) friend’.
So, my response to the claim of training remains the same: