PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Four-year-old Jordan Snyder loves playing with his little brother Jonah.
But except on overcast days, Jonah cannot go to the pool or for a walk in the park. Glaucoma has nearly blinded his right eye.
“It’s basically like having his eyes dilated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s extremely painful out in direct sunlight,” according to his Jaime, his mom.
Jonah was born three years after they moved to Summerset at Frick Park in Squirrel Hill. All of the windows in their home have shades and blackout blinds in Jonah’s bedroom.
When the Snyders asked to put up a retractable awning over their second floor balcony to protect Jonah from the sun, the neighborhood association said no.
“We requested the awning, they said, ‘No one’s ever requested an awning,’” Dan, Jonah’s father, said. “Then they denied it saying, ‘Does he really have a disability?’”
So they sent doctors’ letters, but the association questioning Jonah’s disability really stung.
“That’s just clearly offensive,” Jaime said.
“It’s an insult is what it is and it’s callous because they know he does,” Dan added.
They have taken their case to the Pittsburgh Commission On Human Relations.
Director Charles Morrison was out of town, but he told KDKA-TV: “Evidence does support the family’s claim of discrimination and that the commission intends to file suit against the Neighborhood Association on the Snyder’s behalf.”
Jonah also has Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder producing tumors on his skin and nerves.
This little boy is likely to face battles all his life. His parents don’t want them to start at home, says Dan.
“We’re fighting for his rights. This is something that’s he’s going to have to learn to do for himself after we’re gone, but right now he’s 18 months old and we’re his spokesmen,” he said.
The attorney representing the neighborhood association did not return a phone call from KDKA-TV.