Special needs teen wins battle over trip to New York
PORTLAND, Ore. —
A teen with autism from North Portland, who was denied a trip to the United Nations in New York, will now be allowed to go.
Niko Boskovic communicates using a letter board. He wrote a 500-word essay for a contest sponsored by the Odd Fellows Fraternal Organization, and won. But when the group learned of his disability, they rescinded the award.
Niko’s mother, Loretta, tells KATU he was very upset and taking the situation personally. She’s had other battles for Niko’s inclusion in the past.
"I looked at it as really just another instance where we really just have to teach people that people with disabilities have an equal right to take part in our society and access community activities just like everybody else does,” she said.
She enlisted the assistance of an attorney with Disability Rights Oregon. The attorney was able to advocate for Niko with the Odd Fellows, and he succeeded. The group has now followed through with the award of the trip.
Niko and his mother leave in just a few weeks. They’ll spend time at the U.N. in New York, Philadelphia, Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. He’ll attend a conference in Washington, D.C. with other autistic youth called “Motormorphosis.”
Niko told KATU he’s going to be busy, “But I’m so excited to go.”