Girl With Special Needs Denied Fair Rides - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Girl With Special Needs Denied Fair Rides

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DAVENPORT, IA -- Alison Atkins, 17-years-old with special needs, was looking forward to riding the Ferris Wheel yesterday at the Mississippi Valley Fair. But she and her family were told by the ride operate that they weren't allowed to go because of Alison's special needs.

The Atkins' family comes to the fair every year and their daughter Alison has never had a problem getting on rides even with her disability.

When Alison was eight, she suffered complications from open heart surgery. Her heart stopped and she had a stroke, which led to severe brain damage.

One thing Alison can do like the other kids is enjoy the carnival rides at the fair. And until yesterday, she has never been turned down for her favorite ride.

Her mother, Beth Atkins, says, "They're told 'no' so many times an this is something that was for them. You shouldn't be telling them no and you shouldn't be telling them they are special needs."

General Manager, Bob Fox, agrees. He say after so many years of the fair, he didn't expect this to happen. Fox says, "A lot of these kids, guys and gals -- this is a special day for them and they look forward to it all year long. It's a shame that this had to interrupt their special day so that is what we're trying to correct so it never happens again."

Fox says it was a miscommunication between the contracted ride company and they have taken care of the issue.

The fair wants to invite all people with special needs back for a free day on Sunday. They can pick up arm bands at the main office at the fairgrounds on Sunday and ride carnival rides between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Beth says her daughter is looking forward to the make-up day. "I was very disgusted yesterday, didn't really want I go back, but we will. She wants to go back. She wants to be able to ride the Ferris wheel so I'll definitely take her."

Beth is excited to see the smile on Alison's face when she finally makes it to the top of the Ferris Wheel.

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