Mistreat Kids With Special Needs And Social Media Will Get You

The story went viral: A little boy with autism getting his hair cut kept crying. The salon owner reportedly stormed over and “proceeded to give the mom a severe tongue lashing,” read the Facebook post, written by a customer who said she witnessed what happened. Then the mom said, through tears, “I’m so sorry, he’s autistic.”

That post has been shared more than 40,000 times by outraged people. Someone set up a Facebook page urging a boycott of the salon. Meanwhile, the salon owner’s attorney released a statement saying there was a situation that “posed a safety concern and a concern for other spa patrons” and claimed they handled things appropriately.

Stories like these spread like wildfire in social media. Like the one in which a waiter in Houston stood up for a child with Down syndrome after a customer sitting nearby sniffed, “Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.” Or the one in which teachers were caught on tape bullying a child with special needs.

While there’s a chance for unjust accusations, all in all social media has proven to be a benefactor of kids with special needs. These stories spread the message that if you mistreat our kids, it will not be tolerated—and you may get outed in a major way. True, this phenomenon is not going to actually change the attitudes of people who are abusive, nasty, insensitive, rude or all of the above, but if could make them think twice about acting on their instincts.

Assuming nobody’s violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, there’s no legal action to be taken against people who spew hate like this at kids with special needs. But the court of social media justice might very well nail them.

Image of bird and social media symbols via Shutterstock

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