In the United States it is estimated that one in 110 children will have autism. Depending on which data you review the incidence of autism spectrum disorder, ASD, may be as high as one in 68. Although the data are inconclusive, the message is that autism affects many children and many families. Thankfully Disney World has taken note of children with autism and other cognitive disorders. Today it can be said with full confidence, that Disney World autism friendly has arrived.
Walt Disney World, WDW, has a guide book that you can download from their website to prepare you and your child for his or her visit to the magic kingdom. It is apparent that Disney has given considerable time and money to research methods that can help these kids adapt to the Disney environment. Sensory perception can cause problems when there are sudden loud noises, big crowds or bright lights with quick movement. The guide offers suggestions on how parents can prepare their children.
WDW has published a video that helps prepare kids for what they will see at the theme park. The element of surprise is not good for kids with ASD. Structure and familiar routines and places helps feel secure. Your child will watch the video many, many times. The scenery and noises at the theme park will become familiar, and prepare him or her for the actual visit. Even kids on the severe end of the spectrum who do not have the ability to speak, will understand what they hear and see on the video.
If a child has a restricted, the theme park is able to accommodate their needs. The WDW guide advises parents to call ahead to the restaurant if possible and speak to a chef. If that is not possible, a chef or a manager should be able to meet your dietary needs upon request. Kids with ASD and other cognitive disabilities are allowed to bring their own food into the park if desired.
A mother of an autistic child expressed her pleasure at everything Disney has done to allow her child to have this bit of magic in his life. She noted that the structure of the trip was very helpful, and that the boy much preferred this to a previous vacation where the plan was to hang around the beach and the pool and do nothing
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.
The first thing to do is to download the guide and read it thoroughly. Then get the video and begin preparing the child. Do your homework and plan a carefully thought out itinerary and talk about it with your child. Then get ready for a memorable trip that will be a pleasure for the entire family. All kids, including kids with ASD, deserve to have magic in their lives.
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.