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(Not written by me) Ryanair sorry it made autistic Harlow boy take Covid test 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. 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 in Essex. 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". 'Not our problem' On their return on 3 August, the family was told at the airport that Callum must have another Covid test in order to return to England, despite showing Ryanair staff the letter. Ms Hollingsworth said Callum "lost it" and had a "meltdown because he thought it was his fault". "He started hitting the chair and then started hitting himself," she said. "The staff were just ignoring us. All they kept saying was 'it's not our problem'." Ms Hollingsworth said while they were not "rude or aggressive", voices were "raised" and police were called to help. "My husband then had to physically restrain my son with two members of staff to try to get him to have a test," she said. "Callum tried to be brave but he was petrified. "The fact that he didn't need this one made it even worse because we'd told him the previous one was going to be his one and only test." A spokesman for the airline says it "regrets to hear of the stress" caused to the family. "Ryanair fully complies with EU and government travel restrictions, which are constantly changing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic," a statement said. "We continue to make improvements and implement procedures to ensure the health and safety of our passengers and our crew is prioritised while complying with each country's government guidelines at all times." Ms Hollingsworth said she now hoped it would not happen to others with hidden disabilities. "If my child was in a wheelchair or had something you can see, I don't think they would have treated him the way that they did," she said. Source: BBC News
(Not written by me) A 5-year-old with autism made a 999 call when his mother collapsed, despite normally struggling with conversation Tyler Semple, five, was presented with the award by the National Autistic Society Florence Snead Monday October 1st 2018 A youngster with autism who struggles to hold conversations has earned an award for bravery after he called 999 and guided paramedics to his house when his mother collapsed. Tyler Semple was presented with a bravery award by the National Autistic Society for his actions after his mother, Charley-Anne Semple, fell unconscious at home while unpacking some shopping. Ms Semple, 27, was at home in Thurrock, Essex, with her two children when she collapsed on September 21. ‘He’s very clever with technology’ “I was home just putting some shopping away, which was the last thing I remember,” she said. “What I’ve been able to piece together and have been told by the paramedics is I was lying on the floor unconscious.” She explained her five-year-old son then took her mobile phone to call for help. “He knows the pin code, he’s very clever with technology,” she continued. “He called 999. He was on the phone for a good ten minutes, which is extremely difficult and quite surprising for Tyler as he doesn’t hold conversation very well. “He has speech therapy. He’s verbal but keeping interest in conversation, staying on topic is difficult. “He told them he needed an ambulance and he recited our address. We’ve only lived here four months. He was giving them the phonetic postcode – Romeo, Mike… He was also giving her directions.” Ms Semple said her son’s call might have sounded “like a hoax” at first as Tyler – who struggles to answer direct questions – said she had died after eating a “poisoned apple”. ‘He’s more capable than people give him credit for’ Tyler then went with his three-year-old sister Annabella – who was also given an award – to fetch a neighbour for help. Ms Semple’s collapse was caused by a pre-existing medical condition. She said she had fainted before but not recently. She said both her children were “so happy with their awards” and that by dialling 999 Tyler proved to her that “he’s more capable than people give credit for”. “I think what’s nice and what I’m really trying to push is to celebrate how fantastic I think the children did on the day and to raise autism in a positive light,” she said. “It’s nice to celebrate them.” An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said Tyler had been “very brave” to stay calm in what must have been a “very frightening” situation. Additional reporting from Press Association. Source: iNews