Mom Fires Back After Gymnastics Studio Denies Daughter With Autism
Tia Crowe’s 3-year-old daughter Bella was recently denied admission to a gymnastics class at Creative Arts Academy in Gladstone, Missouri, due to her autism, and Crowe took to Facebook to express her outrage over the situation.
Crowe told local news station KCTV she chatted with an employee about enrolling, but when she revealed Bella has autism, she was told another staffer would give her a call back.
Crowe received the following voice message:
Tia, this is Diane at Creative Arts Academy, and Megan told me that you had called on Friday and were interested in a Tumble Jungle class for your 3-year-old daughter with autism, and we are sorry, our instructors are not trained for special needs classes, and I don`t think it would be fair to your little girl, or to bring her in to one that we don`t have some training in that. So I’m sorry and hopefully you can find some program for her. Thank you.
“It was hurtful,” Crowe told Gladstone’s Fox 4 News. “I feel like she was just being judged.” Crowe added, “It is discrimination. I feel like they saw her for a disability right away, right when they heard the word ‘autism,’ and it’s just not fair. I don’t want her to grow up like that and I don’t think it’s right for people to think that.”
Crowe added on her Facebook page:
I have never been in this facility but i called to try to enroll my daughter in a class but was denied because she has autism! It’s very sad to me because my daughter is so smart and amazing! I don’t want anyone to see her as a disability and that is the first thing the owner did! It’s very rude and hurtful.
Owner Pamela Raisher told Fox 4 News that after the message was posted on Facebook, Creative Arts Academy has received all kinds of negative feedback. She explained that the safety of the kids is her number one priority, and that her team is not currently trained to handle children with special needs.
“I would love to have an instructor that is as talented in dance, or gymnastics and special needs,” Raisher told Fox 4 News. “If there’s someone out there, please I would hire you in a heartbeat. We would love to have more programs, but we have to work within what our reality is.”
Bella’s therapist spoke with an employee at the studio and asked to attend a class, but during that conversation, the therapist was told it would not allowed, reported Fox 4 News. After Crowe’s social media post sparked outrage, Raisher told the Crowe family they could attend a trial class, but Crowe declined the offer and told KCTV that she found another local studio instead.