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Guests with Special Needs Discuss Autistics who love Disney in the Vacation Planning forums; Without getting into too much background, my work deals with studies in Autism and Autistic behavior, and I've come across something curious. Autistics, while they are usually bothered by crowds ...
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    FigmentMushu's Avatar
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    Autistics who love Disney

    Without getting into too much background, my work deals with studies in Autism and Autistic behavior, and I've come across something curious.

    Autistics, while they are usually bothered by crowds and loud noise, LOVE the Disney Parks. They say the parks feel safe, so the crowds and noise don't bother them.

    I'm looking to see if there's anyone out there, you or someone you know, who has Autism and finds peace and happiness at the Disney Parks.

    I have no follow up questions. I'm not looking to make a personal study out of this. Just curious to know how common this is.
    Dreams Never Die!

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    My son has Asperger Syndrome.. The parks don't bother him at all with people. Every now and then he'll cover his ears with a noise too loud. His biggest problem is that on some rides like Buzz Lightyear he thinks he's in the game itself. We don't make him ride anything he doesn't want to without telling him what to expect. He was deathly afarid of SSE until he rode it with me and I told him what to expect. Mostly like Splash mountain the falll is his only concern and i point out it only lasta couple seconds and when to hold his breath so he doen't get that sick feel in his stomach.

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    I dont know or have anyone with those conditions but what Tmntrans made me think of something a bit off topic. Does holding your breath on rides make you feel less nauseous or is it just something you do for your child to help calm him?
    It's a Disney thing. If you understood, your only question would be "can I go?"



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    I know I tried it and it seemed to help a little. I can't stand that stomach churn feeling like going straight down on a coaster. To me its like wanting to puke. I haven't rode TOT or RNR yet. Space, Thunder and Splash and Everest doesn't bother me at all. I don't tighten my stomach . BUT it does help calm him so he knows he can do it if he wants.
    Last edited by Tmntrans; 01-27-2008 at 11:30 PM. Reason: spelling

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    My son has PDD-NOS and had no issues at all within the parks. He would place his hands over his ears the 1st day or so, but once he got comfortable he had no other issues. Although he wanted NOTHING to do with characters when they got up close. From afar he would wave, yell Hi to them, but if they got close forget it!

    Other than trying to get him to sit through a few shows (he was almost 5, what boy would want to sit through Beauty and Beast?) he had a blast!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJDISNEYFAN View Post
    My son has PDD-NOS and had no issues at all within the parks. He would place his hands over his ears the 1st day or so, but once he got comfortable he had no other issues. Although he wanted NOTHING to do with characters when they got up close. From afar he would wave, yell Hi to them, but if they got close forget it!

    Other than trying to get him to sit through a few shows (he was almost 5, what boy would want to sit through Beauty and Beast?) he had a blast!

    I agree! The hands over the ears was probably the only noticeable issue he had. He is having a great time planning our next trip, as the previous poster, NJDisneyFan, AKA my husband, would surely agree with! Our son is looking forward to riding on some more intense rides, but he still has no interest in the characters, even now, 2 years after our first trip. Doesn't bother me; think of all the money we're saving by NOT attending character meals!
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    We first took my son to MK when he was 14 months old, my husband was on a business trip in Orlando so we did a last minute visit. Of course at the time we didn't know he was on the spectrum (knew something was different). We couldn't believe the changes in him, the day after the park he was so different - I can't really say how he just reacted differently. We thought this must be what happens to all kids, so when our DD turned 13 months we went back to Disney, she did fine, seemed to enjoy it- but once again DS made huge advancements.

    When he was 4 we got a dx of Aspergers. We went back to Disney a 3rd time to see if it could work its miracles again - it did.

    We went again when he was almost 6, just to make sure we weren't imagining it - it was our best trip ever. I had done a lot of extra planning, got the GAC, and dining plan. He started the trip refusing to get out of the stroller, by the end he refused to get in the stroller & spent most of his time dancing circles around the stroller as we walked.

    He loves the characters that are dressed totally up, but not the human ones, like the princes & princess, I think because the pooh & piglets can't make eye contact & don't talk or ask any questions. Even as a 14month old he loved them, we have great video of him chasing Tiger in the Crystal Palace!

    Now at almost 6 he did have a little interest in Jasimine, however I think that was more due to how little her costume is - he is a very hard-wired male - makes his daddy proud.

    We will be taking our next trip in June, for the Star Wars Weekend - I know this will be crowded & crazy - however Star Wars is his obsession at this time so I think he will be able to let all those sensory things slide for a while - when else is he going to be able to see Darth Vader in person. I'm not sure if he wants to join the trivia contest - he probably could beat the pants off anyone.

    There are not many places we can go, or things we can do where we can see the joy & excitement on his face. Disney is one of the few times we have been able to see him enjoy himself. He is a kid who could spend every day of his life alone in his room so to see him happy to be out & doing something (anything) is a gift. I am so thankful that Disney has such a good policy for our kids - it makes us keep coming back!

    Sorry I didn't exactly answer your question - Yes my ASD son loves Disney - however we do have to take some steps to insure that our trip goes smoothly.
    Charlotte

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    Just read on another site, a mother who's son is autistic, is set to ride Snow White Scary Adventure for the 2,000 time on Saturday March 8th. They're supposed to have a private meeting with SW and all 7 dwarfs in the VIP room in Town Hall. Just thought I'd share.
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    *Raises hand and Bounces up and down in seat* ME ME ME!! I admit I'm an aspie who loves going to Disney world!! The crowds are a pains in the arse though and there are things about certain rides that bother me but i know there's other stuff WDW has to offer. Epcot is my favorite park because you can explore lots of different countries in one day (my Dad, Brother, sister and I did that once but it was more like around the world in 80 seconds! okay we ran through the park but it was fun!)
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    This thread just confirms my belief that Disney World can be done by anybody...no matter what their ability/dis-ability.

    It does help to know yourself/the person with the challenges and to plan ahead!!!

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    Kelly D <><

    lover of all things Disney since the age of 9 months which includes going to the Parks all my life with undiagnosed ADHD until I was 33 years old!
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    I just realized that I answer the question that was posed in the original post.

    this is something that me and my counselor talk about all the time

    Disney was the place where I could go to get away from being "different" and from living the challenges of living with what I know now was my undiagnosed ADHD. I love being able to go to the Parks and live a life that I don't have the opportunities to live in "real" life

    If you want more details dont hesitate to let me know and I'll see if I can explain it deeper

    KD <>< 8(:-)
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    My son is autistic and he does great in Disney. Disney was the first place he ever waved and said bye to someone (was a character). Loves the rides loves the shows. It is amazing and so enjoyable to watch him. We are bringing him again in Dec. and I am looking so forward to watching him and hopefully seeing him open up more. Disney truly is a magical place!!

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    Re: Autistics who love Disney

    My brother has Asberger-sp- and so do I (I even have sensitive hearing and a sensitive sense of smell) and we both love Disney World. We come home and the next day were asking our mom "So when are we going to Disney next?" It's a safe place and both of us talk to complete strangers when we're in line.

    That is our favorite place to be in the whole world (Second is New York.)

    He's a smarty-pants about random junk but when we're at Disney I'm the smart one.

    oh and I have this stupid fear of the full costume charaters (like Beast and Mickey Mouse) but on my last trip I semi-got over it. I didn't run away from Chewbacka, star wars weekend, I walked right past him next to him.
    Disney helps me get over my fears.
    Last edited by disney_freak; 07-28-2009 at 01:35 AM.
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    Re: Autistics who love Disney

    I have Asperger's Syndrome, and I'm a total Disney fangirl! I'm a little nervous to talk to cast members (I trade pins), so I usually take my younger cousin (who also does) to ask them to show us their lanyards together, so I don't have to ask them myself. Other than that the only thing I can think of is that I get really shaky after rides like Everest and Dinosaur. Shaky, but totally ecstatic, and I can't shut up about the experience for a good 10 minutes afterward!
    Really, WDW is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I really never feel happier or safer than sitting in a Disney ride, strolling down the crowded paths, or watching the shows (FantasMic! was one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my entire life!)...
    Well, sorry for the rant, I just felt like sharing.

    Also, my 5-year-old brother (also an Aspie) had a blast at the parks. His main concern was that he really, really didn't want to hug Lilo. He especially liked the Great Movie Ride, but you should have seen the look on his face in the cowboy scene when the building burst into flames! I'm sure my expression was fairly priceless as well, though.... LOL!
    Last edited by Margos; 07-28-2009 at 04:42 PM.

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    Re: Autistics who love Disney

    As an Autie myself, I love Disney (Heck, I live an hour from it!) - it's the harbinger of staycations anytime, and I'm getting used to all the stimulation there. Noise is a big concern for many auties, but I can roll with it - the loud Aerosmith in Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (I enjoyed it, though!) and the chanting from what I call those Brazilian tour groups (or other ones, like those from Argentina) turismos! To make things pop, I'm renewing my Seasonal Pass a few days from now! Ho ho!
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