Ryanair sorry it made autistic Harlow boy take Covid test

News / Fri 13th Aug 2021 at 09:34am

RYANAIR staff in Spain made an autistic boy have a Covid test before boarding a flight, despite having an exemption letter, his mother has said reports the BBC.

Katy Hollingsworth, who was travelling to the UK from Valencia with her son Callum, 12, said he was “petrified”.

“They said if you don’t have a Covid test you can’t go home, so we had no choice,” said Ms Hollingsworth, who is from Harlow.

The airline has apologised and says it “regrets to hear of the stress” caused.

Callum, who also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), had struggled with lockdowns, so the family wanted to take him for a break to his “happy place” in Spain.

Ms Hollingsworth said his one previous test in January had been “a nightmare”, so his doctor had provided a medical exemption letter.

He did, however, have a test before he left the UK, but his family said they spent two months preparing him for this.

Government guidance says people with medical conditions which mean they cannot take a test, do not need one to travel to the UK, providing they “present a note from a medical practitioner at check in”.

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3 Comments for Ryanair sorry it made autistic Harlow boy take Covid test:

2021-08-13 23:16:04

People make the decision to go abroad during these times it is very unpredictable they are only trying to keep people safe

2021-08-14 11:29:14

No disrespect here but... having autism shouldn’t exempt you from the rules... my cousin is severely autistic and was still required to provide tests. Covid doesn’t care if you are autistic or not, it’s a virus... it isn’t a conscious entity - so your requirement should be the same for all.

2021-08-23 08:04:45

The comments above are disgusting. If you are a carer or parent of an autistic child or adult and anyone with non visible disabilities, you do not speak for all people as everyone has they own challenges. Everyone has a right to fly on holiday when restrictions allow. They took this autistic child to his happy place on holiday to give him a sense of happiness like anyone is like on holiday and any changes in routine because of these restrictions can be detrimental to his or anyone’s well-being. The family of the autistic child will have taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of themselves and other people who may have also been traveling. They are exemptions for people with disabilities and medical conditions because reasonable adjustments should be made to ensure that no one is at an disadvantage because of their disabilities . All people with disabilities will have they own individual needs and what they can tolerate and find difficult, you do not speak for all autistic and or disabled people. In this case the family spend two months working with the autistic child to tolerate the test which clearly he still found extremely difficult. For what he should be congratulated for because it not easy especially with sensory difficulties that many autistic and people with non disabilities can struggle with. So to prevent severe distress - meltdown, the doctor wrote an exemption letter for their return to the UK, but clearly the airline and the Spanish government clearly failed to an knowledge the child’s disabilities beach the Equality Act, the family could claim injury to feeling for causing distress to an disabled child and or adult. Please that exemptions if a disabled child or adult for whatever reason cannot wear a face covering or take a test it should be treated with respect upon poof from a medical professional. No autistic person or an person with disabilities is exempted because they have a disability, because some people with disabilities will be able to have tests and wear face covering it’s based on individual needs and all disabled people should be treated as individual’s and recognised their own individual needs of what they can tolerate and find difficult. Thank you!!

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