Saturday, April 6, 2013

Disney From a Different Perspective


Disney From a Different Perspective



            I saw a link on Facebook for a podcast from WDWInfo.com. On this podcast, recorded in 2011 you get wonderful insight into the needs of a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A young man, 15 at the time of recording gave his view of doing Disney with Autism. This segment was suggested by the young man.
            Here is the link:
            This young man is well worth listening too if you are doing Disney with a person with any type of Disability. Here are some of his tips:
1.     Do not fear doing it!
2.    Understand the child’s limits.
a.    The unknown can cause fear.
b.    Characters may cause panic and fear.
c.    Dark rides may cause panic and fear.
d.    Do NOT force them to do something that makes them scared.
e.    If your child has problems with loud noises help them by covering their ears or using noise canceling headphones. Even an iPod can help with noise canceling earbuds.
3.    Research, plan, research and plan!
a.    Read as much as you can about each ride.
b.    Watch videos of the rides with the Autistic child.
c.    Know where quiet places can be found to calm down.
d.    Know what calms your child and plan to have it with you.
4.    Patience!
a.    Know what your child can do and be willing to skip things.
b.    Know when to say enough and head back to the hotel.

Now here are the positive things about taking your Autistic or disabled child to Disney.
1.     Disney is the great equalizer. Those with disabilities of any kind can feel comfortable and even “normal” at Disney. Often they feel awkward and out of place everywhere else.
2.    Disney can be a safe place to learn social skills. Pin trading is a good example of a way to teach a shy or socially awkward child to interact with others. You can give them a script. This young man’s mom taught him to walk up to a cast member with a pin lanyard and say, “May I please see your pins?” Then if he saw a pin he liked he would say, “May I trade for that pin?” Or, “Thank you for letting me look at your pins.” If he did not see one he liked. Another good way to teach social interaction is to let the child order their own meals. Help them pick what they want and have them tell the waiter/waitress what they would like.
3.    It can be a safe place to try new things. You can add one new thing each visit. Try one new ride, show or experience each trip.

In truth a lot of the tips and thoughts of this young man and his mother are good for anybody. A lot of the information can help anybody deal with a stressful day.

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