My oldest child, Logan, has autism. He and my daughter had been attending the after school child care program at their school, which is run by the Georgia Mountains YMCA.
Before the YMCA accepted my son into the child care program I told both the program director and on site staff about his condition and they were understanding.
I discussed with the YMCA staff as well as my child's special education teacher that he exhibits elopement behaviors, a common symptom of autism. This simply means he will try to leave an enclosed space.
The YMCA staff member assured me they would not allow my child to leave and that they would provide an additional staff member for supervision on the days my son was scheduled to attend. To my knowledge additional supervision was never provided.
On Wednesday, October 24th the staff at the YMCA called a meeting with me. I was first asked to pay extra to keep my son in the program, then was told that he was no longer allowed in the program.
The reason I was given for the decision was that he was a flight risk due to his autism. Once outside the meeting room and in front of additional staff and YMCA patrons, staff members denied having kicked my son out.
I was scheduled to work that afternoon and had only two hours to find an alternative child care provider. I have yet to find a suitable permanent child care solution. I have yet to receive a refund or a written explanation from the YMCA.
I feel that if the YMCA is going to provide a public service at an elementary school every child who attends this school should have access to this service.
Please sign my petition and join me in telling the Georgia Mountains YMCA and the YMCA of the USA that discrimination against children with autism and other disabilities is unacceptable. I am asking them to provide all children with disabilities reasonable accommodations and an equal opportunity to participate.