Keylime359

Children with autism

92 posts in this topic

Some of you may know that my DD has a mild form of autism. While most would not know this now at one point she was a lot more severe. One thing about children with any form of autism is that routine and familiar are so important.

 

One of the benefits to camping is that the enviroment of the camper is always the same. Same bed same sheets and same food. If you cook at the camper and stick to foods your child is familiar with it will ease some of the tension.

Try to keep to a schedule. Vacation can be scary to a child with a disability. While we see adventure they see uncertainty. Show them pictures tv clips or a movie so that they can have an idea of what to expect. Let them know a time table if they are old enough. For example, after we see the horses at the stable we will go back to the camper to eat. Eating was always an issue with my daughter. She also loved the charaters. Before Liberty Tree tavern closed down we took her there for dinner. I got a manager to tell a charater to show her to eat. From that day on she ate turkey. After all Disney wanted her to :D  I seriously thought about kidnapping Minnie right then and there and making her our forever houseguest.

Last listen to your child's cues. Maybe you want a picture of them with Mickey, but they do not. It might be fear, tiredness  who knows. Remember your child will have more fun if you don't push yur idea of what is fun or supposed to happen. Just enjoy the time away from the day to day pressure and have memories with yur child

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I didn't know you had a child with autism.  My 6 year old son is autistic as well.  The camping experience provides him the familiar feeling of being "home".  Being confined to hotel room and such would drive him off the deep end after a while and would not be pleasant for other guests either. ;-)

My son is severely active...continuous jumping, spinning, bouncing of the walls, running...  so being able to just step right outside to all FW has to offer is a wonderful advantage for us.

Thanks for starting this Forum Jen and Chris!

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Our DS14 also shows some signs of autism, not diagnosed.  But he enjoys sitting outside in his chair or in the GC.  If we're outside - working, decorating, or whatever, that's even better for him.  But if I take hm for a ride to get a paper or icecream at the trading post, his day is made.  He sits in the cart while I run inside.  If I bring out a big bag, he knows I've gotten a frozen pizza.  None of this would be possible at another resort.

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My daughter has bipolar disorder.  Before she was diagnosed, I used to get upset that we would go camping and all she wanted to do was nap in the camper.  I finally figured out that if that was what she wanted to do on vacation, then why not?  After her diagnosis, we started doing less as far as commando raids on parks and activities that would overstimulate her.  More time at the camper, in the quiet, going for walks etc.  It sure made things a lot better for everybody.  Fortuneately, we live in a time where medicine has advanced as far as diagnosis and treatment.  She is now stable on her medications, has a job and can hold a conversation with adults.  While she cannot handle full time college, she did finish a psychology course at our local community college and got an A!!!!  That was a big accomplishment for her.  I gotta say, I probably wasn't the most patient or sensitive guy when it came to dealing with disabled people, which I am not proud of.  If anything good has come of Chris' disability, it is that that aspect of me has changed.  However, it has made me more aware that there is a lot of misunderstanding and fear in the real world when it comes to dealing with disabled people.  As terrible as a mental disorder is, and I can't imagine the struggle my daughter went through in life before she was treated, I can't imagine the difficulty in dealing with physical disabilities, or combinations of these, but I am trying to understand.

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I had no idea you dealt with that FWG.  Wow.  It sounds like you've learned a lot from your daughter.  :)

Your post raises a valid point.  Sometimes it takes your walking through something to appreciate how difficult it is and to gain understanding.  I truly hope this Forum will help raise awareness among the camping community and provide comfort and support for those who face these challenges on a day to day basis.

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  I have 5 blessings.  4 of my 5 are special needs of one form or another.  Both of my boys are on the spectrum, one much worse than the other and my oldest daughter is undiagnosed but some milder signs are there.  She has enough to deal with, she has a progressive hearing loss.  I love camping with her the most.  Not that I don't with the others, but something about being out in nature and her being able to hear things she may not hear at home but may also never hear again.    Her favorite thing to do while camping is bird watching.  She can't hear all the birds but she loves to look every one up in her field guide.  We never knew WDW had special accommodations for the HI.  She misses a lot of the verbal parts of the rides but it doesn't seem to bother her.

  Going to the parks has always been a great escape.  I start planning months ahead of time and they are all well prepared and involved in the planning.  We just try to plan it when the parks are not as crowded, but this often means pulling them from school.  It's an argument I am willing to defend.  How do the rest of you do it?  I can't imagine going when the parks are at their fullest.  Let alone the fact that we are outnumbered, I just think it would be way more than any of my children could deal with, neither could Dad but who's telling?  ;D

  It took 3 trips to WDW to figure out what makes my one son's vacation a happy one.  Day one he purchases his Disney buddy (Mickey Snowman hat one year, ghost dog another) and we use a drink lanyard around said buddy's neck and he takes it to the parks with him everyday.  Where ever he goes it goes and then when home he would relive his vacation over and over again. Not sure he will want to do it this year.  Getting too big now.

  Looking forward to reading other suggestions for keeping Disney fun for all of our kids!

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We have always gone off season and taken the kids out of school.  Personally, I feel the family time more than compensates for the loss of classroom time.  They always have brought school work with them and more often than not ended up ahead of the other kids when they returned.  In addition, we emphasize the educational part of Disney, especially at Epcot and AK. 

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Fortunately our kids schools agree that our travels are just as educational as being in a classroom.  Or maybe we just didn't give them a chance to object since we've been doing this for so many years.  Maybe bringing back litle gifts for the teachers doesn't hurt, either.  Our schools have a procedure wherein they withdraw the kids from school so their absences do not affect the school's attendance records (or their funding), then they are put back in the system when we return.  Works for us.  Shawnee will talk about the trip for days before and after each trip and we usually send pictures or an email report about what we did while we were gone.

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We haven't taken the kids out of school yet (although I am in favor of doing that for an October trip).  My parents are always at WDW the same time as we are...so that gives us a lot of extra help in the parks.  Mom is a teacher so we've always gone during the summer to accommate her.  I think they would be devastated if we went without them.  LOL.

My son does have sensory issues, but it seems like he copes really well at WDW.  In fact, I think he thrives on all of the activity.  :o  We've always been very pleased with how WDW has gone above and beyond to make sure that our son's needs are met and that we have the best time possible.

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hey guys, I hope you are aware that disney has a pass for anyone with disablities, you can go to any park to the information desk/ guest relations to pick it up, usual they will help. When and if I use one for britt, they are very helpful if you explain what the situation is.  The person in question needs to be there with you. for those That don't know Britt has a mild form of Asperger's, and usually can't be seen unless your around her for long periods of time and she also has sensory issues as well.  It's hard as a parent to care for anyone with any kind of disablities, after all we weren't given a handbook, and most of us have to fight the system to get help for our precious kids. It's hard but it can be such a pleasure to see things thru thier eyes. All of the ones I normally hang out with at the fort, know this and have always treated her really good, even the employee's.  If I can help you in anyway just let me know.

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Through all our struggles with Chris, Carol was the strong advocate.  I swear she knows more about bipolar than any other living person.  I was called in when additional support was needed or the doctor card had to be played.  To this day, Carol can deal with Chris and her issues better than anyone else.  Never, and I mean never, get in the way of a mother when it comes to protecting their child.

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We have never had our daughter diagnosed as autistic.  I have a problem with labeling a child.  She does have learning disabilities.  She was held back twice in elementary school.  Unfortunately now she is just pushed through grades.  When she was in seventh grade I finally found a counselor at her school that wanted to test her and try putting her in special ed classes.  What a blessing!!!  She has finally found her niche, her people.  Her self esteem has gone way up.  She is now half way through 8th grade.  She has been on the honor roll twice. :'( :argh:  When she goes to high school next year she will continue with special ed classes.  All of her classes will be life skills type of classes.  Things that will help her in the real world. 

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  Never, and I mean never, get in the way of a mother when it comes to protecting their child.

True dat!

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hey guys, I hope you are aware that disney has a pass for anyone with disablities,

Yup - it's a called a GAC, if I remember correctly.  That's a really good board on the Dis that deals with disabilities........  the card is used to assist those with hidden disabilities and can help with a lot of things - the one thing it is not though is a front of the line pass.

Jim - not sure how similar this is, but our son had acute agoraphobia and panic syndrome starting in the 7th grade and continuing until a few years ago.  I still see signs of it now and again.  he was home schooled for a year and then went to a private school up until high school.  He got better until college and then had a relapse.  It reminds me somewhat of PTSD - which I'm sure I had at one time.  A lot of people helped with it, but camping was the one thing he liked to do and it helped him a lot.  He and I used to go camping a lot by ourselves. 

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We have never had our daughter diagnosed as autistic.  I have a problem with labeling a child.  She does have learning disabilities.  She was held back twice in elementary school.  Unfortunately now she is just pushed through grades.  When she was in seventh grade I finally found a counselor at her school that wanted to test her and try putting her in special ed classes.  What a blessing!!!  She has finally found her niche, her people.  Her self esteem has gone way up.  She is now half way through 8th grade.  She has been on the honor roll twice. :dance: ::)  When she goes to high school next year she will continue with special ed classes.  All of her classes will be life skills type of classes.  Things that will help her in the real world.

Welcome to the Forum Jan!

We felt the same about "labeling" our son early on as well.  But as time went on we realized we wouldn't get the assistance that we needed for him without the proper diagnosis.  Over time  I came to realize that I wasn't labeling him ...only accepting the truth of his situation.  He now receives so much help in the way of private therapy and other helps that we may not have been able to provide for him otherwise.  He has made great gains since we began this journey "on the spectrum" and we are so thankful for that.

It sounds as if your daughter has received the proper help and treatment as well.  It's so nice to hear that she is doing so well now.  I commend you for fighting the fight for your daughter.  Hopefully we will all be able to offer help and support for one another .

I wish  I could multiquote right now!!!

Al.  I had no idea.  That must be such a challenge!  With all that we face I can't imagine what that must be like.  I'm glad to hear that things have improved for your son.

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KFK,

I agree, it is absolutely necessary to get the help needed to give your children the best opportunity to grow, physically or mentally.  And you can't get the help unless you kow what is wrong, or what is needed.  I wouldn't call is "labeling".  I would call it "diagnosing".  As Judy would say, a wheelchair doesn't handicap a child; it give the child mobility.

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Our 10 yr old daughter has sensory issues, central auditory processing disorder, and possibly another learning disability in addition to the capd.  We held her back this year but she is still struggling with 4th grade.  And yet with these difficulties, she definitely finds interests that she excels at.  We always tell her, God may give you challenges in some areas but bless you with gifts in others.  You need to do the best you can with the tools you are given, and use your gifts to make the world a better place.  As long as she can remember that I think she will do fine in the long run.

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Ashlee has done so much in the past year now that she is is special ed classes.    She was on the special olympics basketball team for her school.  She had so much fun.  On Saturday she has her first special olympics track meet.  She is doing shotput and 50yd dash.  We can't wait to watch her.  If they do good with track they have a chance to go to Disney this summer for the summer olympics.  It is exciting.  I'll keep you all informed as to how well she does.

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Our 10 yr old daughter has sensory issues, central auditory processing disorder, and possibly another learning disability in addition to the capd.  We held her back this year but she is still struggling with 4th grade.  And yet with these difficulties, she definitely finds interests that she excels at.  We always tell her, God may give you challenges in some areas but bless you with gifts in others.  You need to do the best you can with the tools you are given, and use your gifts to make the world a better place.  As long as she can remember that I think she will do fine in the long run.

She will be fine with love and Guidence

He have always told Britt, to find away around it, it can be accomplished and we have never lied to her about her disabilities, and not to let it hinder her, sometimes things in our lives become disabilities if we let them.  I'm glad that your daughter has found other things for her to excel  at, that will help her later in her life.  Most of the kids I know can do some pretty amazing things. To me school in the system is hard on a kid, it put to much into grades, and not the child, I have found that a hands on approach works best for Britt, to me when she can see it, feel it, and touch it it makes more sense to her, as it would to most kids, and we have to face it school is boring, the teachers have to teach what the school, and the state and government tell them too, so it's not the teachers. All kids have stepping stones and most are required to hit certain ones at school, but sometimes they  don?t hit them, until a year or two later.  When we had Brittany in school, she couldn?t grasp the concept of pre-alegerba, and she wasn?t good at it, and when she failed that class it almost killed her so I made her redo the class over, she had to learn it before going on. Now she can do it and she knows she can.  People put to much on what others say do and think especially when we are talking about ourselves or our kids, sometimes, you ?ve just gotta step out of the box, and most of us on this board have stepped out of the box.

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Dave, I've heard of the senory processing disorder before.  From what I've heard some parents suspect autism at first until they receive the proper testing.  What kinds of issues does this disorder cause..if you don't mind my asking?

Kelly, beautifully said!  You nicely stated the importance of focusing on strengths and NOT weakness.  All people have their niche and need to find what they're best at. 

Jan, glad you're daughter is doing so well!  My son will be in the Young Athletes Program at S.O. again this year.  What an awesome program!

Ken, I absolutely LOVE Judy's quote.  "A wheelchair doesn't handicap a child; it gives the child mobility."  I feel like the proper diagnosis gave our son wings.  He's not where he needs to be yet...but I believe one day that little birdie is gonna soar.  :-)

Both of our boys have ADHD which presents it's own set of challenges!!!  YIKES !!!  I think the ADHD drives me battier than the autism sometimes. :popcorn:  Anyone else deal with that?  If so, any advice will be gratefully accepted.  Thank you.  KFK

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Only recently we had 3 of our five tested and yes all 3 were diagnosed with ADHD.  It was the denial for a long time and a strong desire not to medicate our kids.  For two of them anyway it is what they needed.  My children were born very early so we knew they were at risk.  I know how you feel.  I think the ADHD is the more challenging of their issues, at times,  but we are managing.  I hate feeling like a pharmacy in the morning but it makes a huge difference if they miss.  My daughter actually thanked me and said she feels like she is all put together now.  Oh what a life we all lead....

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Oh what a life we all lead indeed.  LOL.  3 with ADHD!?  OH MY LAWD!!!  We resisted meds as well, until he (our 7 year old and otherwise typical son) had problems focusing at school, that is.  Funny, but we get notes home nearly every week saying that he needs to focus or "is having trouble staying focused" ... and yet he remains on the A/B honor roll.  If he could only stay focused he would be a genius!  :popcorn:

Our 6 year old with Autism/ADHD is quite another matter.  He's sort of like TAZ on speed... all of the time....unless he is asleep....which is not usually all night....even with meds  :popo:    Unfortunately every ADHD med we tried only made him completely nuts so we gave up on that and focused on treating the behavioral issues that stem from the autism. (Sorry for the run on sentence.)  If anyone would like to share which meds and or strategies that have helped in these situations, I would be very glad to hear it. 

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I think for us the scarey part of the meds is that they haven't been around long enough for anyone to really know the long term effects.  Chris is on a couple at doses that would knock me on my ass, but for her, it makes her "normal."  Without, she is totally irrational.  Because she was older when she was diagnosed, we went through a lot of problems with her resisting her meds.  More went in the garbage than down her throat, and her "friends" didn't help any - telling her they liked her better when she didn't take her meds.  Idiots. 

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