Disney accused of discrimination against people with autism
Disney has been accused of discriminating against people who have autism, and there is an active lawsuit. Families have shared that the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts did not treat their autistic children fairly during visits. The lawsuit may be expanding to include other plaintiffs who have come forward with information about the company.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts used to have a special Guest Assistance Card program for people with disabilities that allowed them to skip to the front of the line. However, Disney discovered the program was being exploited by people without disabilities and felt the need to change it. There were issues with some visitors paying people with a disability to stand in line for them. The fraud was widespread and seen in multiple locations.
Disney changed the Guest Assistance Card program to the Disability Access Service Card program and issued a fact sheet to explain the major differences. One of the main modifications has been the elimination of automatically giving people with disabilities the chance to be at the front of the line. Instead, they receive a return time for attractions, so they will know once the ride or other service is available.
Families with autistic children claim the new Disability Access Service Card program discriminates against them and is creating problems. They point out it forces them to wait and does not accommodate their needs. In addition, they share that staff no longer gives special treatment to the kids with autism and has been rude to the families. There are 69 new plaintiffs trying to join the lawsuit against Disney with similar stories.
Children with autism can benefit from exploring the outside world and socializing with others, but it helps to have a controlled environment. Disney denies that it has discriminated against people with autism and is fighting the lawsuit.
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