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Our son (9yrs) is on the autism spectrum with asperger's syndrome. He struggles with long waits and becoming overwhelmed. For anyone that doesn't realize his disability they would veiw him as impatient and "grumpy". How can we make his experience
- Asked by BethAnne on 1/2/2010
Disney is a great place for kids with special needs. On your first day at a park, go to Guest Relations which is located near the entrance to every park. Explain your son's situation and request a Guest Assistance Card which can alert Cast Members at the attractions that you need assistance. I'd recommend getting a letter to have on hand from your son's doctor explaining his disability. You may not be asked for it at Guest Relations but it will be a lot easier if you have it in hand - just in case. You'd only need to present the letter at Guest Relations (if they even ask) & not at every attraction - you'll just show them the GAC. Some attractions may offer alternate entrances while others may not. I bought my son a Disney lanyard & attached a larger plastic pouch to keep the GAC handy. He thinks its cool & that way I don't lose it. You'll only need to get a GAC the first day in a park & they can date it to last throughout your trip.
I'm not sure what time of year that you are planning to travel with your son. If at all possible, try to travel during a non-peak season. This would cut down on the crowds & possible chances of him becoming agitated. If he enjoys an iPod or some thing else that could act as a distraction, take it with you if its not too much to carry around.
A mom knows their child better than anyone so pay attention to his limitations & don't push it. If there is something that upsets him (i.e., being in the dark, strobe lights, loud noises, etc.), avoid those attractions. If he becomes agitated, don't stress just take him to a less crowded area of the park until he calms down & then try it again if you feel he's up to it. Even parents of typical kids can experience trying moments at the parks. You may not get to see everything on this trip but you can get the most out of it by taking a deep breath.
If you have specific questions about attractions, please let me know - I'm happy to help!