by Jason Stevens
The statistics vary according to the sources, but autism occurs in 1 in 68 to 1 in a 110 children. What this tells you is that there are millions of children and families affected by this disorder. Disney World has responded to the needs of children in the autism spectrum disorder, ASD, and other cognitive disorders by finding a way to make the theme park adaptable to their needs. Disney World autism friendly is here for this population of children.
Walt Disney World, WDW, has published a twenty nine page guide book to help kids with ASD and their parents enjoy the park. Parents of kids with cognitive disabilities yearn to see their children experience the same fun that other kids do. One challenge that children with ASD face is sensory perception. Loud sudden noises, bright flashing lights and strange crowds can incite panic that results in a meltdown.
The first advice Walt Disney World, WDW, offers is to prepare the child days in advance for what they are about to experience. WDW has a video specially designed for kids with ASD and other cognitive disorders that the kids can watch on their iPads over and over again. Some children with ASD do not have language. This does not mean that they cannot comprehend what they hear and see. By watching the video repeatedly, experiences that might be new and upsetting to them can become familiar. This sets the stage for enabling the kids to enjoy their trip.
If your child follows a restricted diet, the theme park can accommodate those dietary concerns. Talk to the manager or the chef, as both are trained to work with and adapt to special diet requests. You can also call ahead to discuss the menu with the chef or manager of the park restaurant. Disney also allows kids to bring in plenty of their own food to ensure they have plenty to eat.
One mother commented that the family had attempted to take their autistic son on a beach vacation with plans of lying around at the beach or pool. As it turns out, her son was not at all happy with the complete lack of structure and let everyone know it with his behavior. When the family took him to Disney World that followed the advice in the guide. He looked at the video ahead of time, and they planned a strict itinerary. He was happy with the structure, and everyone enjoyed the vacation.
Structure, order and familiarity are calming to kids with these disorders. Tell your son or daughter what the itinerary for the day will be. For example, say first we are going to Adventure Land, then we will have lunch. Then we will go to Fantasy Land, and afterwards back to the hotel for a nap. These words help set the scene.
WDW was one of the first theme parks to offer special access for all disabled people. The lines for the rides can be long and tiresome for anyone. Getting the child on the ride quickly is helpful. If this is not possible the park will provide a stroller or wheel chair so the child can wait comfortably and securely in line.
To get ready for your trip to the magic kingdom go to the website and download the 29 page guide and study it. Give your child the video to watch as many times as he or she likes, and talk about your plans for each day. You and your family will have a great time at WDW. Your child deserves to feel the magic of Disney World, and you deserve to see the happiness on his face.
About the author:
Children can now take part in Disney World autism friendly holidays by finding out more about them online. To book this magical trip, visit the related website at http://www.magicforautism.com.