Mom And Son Safari
  • On Jan 11, 2011
    Kristal Asked

    I have 2 children my oldest is autistic. I'm working with his therapists and teachers to help with some of the obvious things I foresee him having issues w/ but still worried it may be too much for him. Any ideas from other parents with special needs kids?

    Hi Kristal!

    First of all, I'm so excited to hear of your upcoming vacation!  Second, I think you're taking the right steps to make improve his experience.  Now...relax and breathe...

    There are a multitude of issues that can trigger a meltdown, but I'm going to focus on the big 2.  Auditory sensitivity and proprioception issues.  For auditory sensitivity, we take along ear muffs.  Baby Banz makes some that are child-sized and are available in several colors.  They were a life saver last trip, as we were able to enjoy our first fireworks show in several years!  Also, try to remember that just because the sound doesn't bother you, it won't bother him.  Ambient crowd noise can be a trigger for children with auditory sensitivity.

    Proprioception issues can sometimes be difficult to 'head off at the pass' so to speak, but by keeping a close eye on your son, you can catch them quickly and intercede.  We carry a small, vibrating toy with us to help with the sometimes unpredictable movement of the rides.  That alone has helped a great deal.  We also use joint compression (talk to your OT) to help calm and soothe either before or once we've hit the stimulation limit.

    I think you'd also benefit from a guest assistance card (GAC).  They are available at Guest Services at any of the theme parks, and it will allow accommodations for your son, such as waiting in an alternate queue that might be quieter and less busy.  Documentation is not required, but I always bring along a note from our OT that states modifications that will help (just in case).

    Please let me know if I can help in any other way and have a MAGICAL vacation!
    Amanda
thumbnail image for Amanda

Meet the Panelist: Amanda, Texas

I am a former Kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home Mom to my 2 boys and daughter.  I've been married to my High School sweetheart since 2000, and we consider ourselves experienced Walt Disney World travelers with little ones. Learn More About Amanda

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