Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor
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  1. #1

    Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor

    I recently went to Disney World with 13 year old daughter with mild Asperger Syndrome. Perhaps I can be of some help answering others questions about their trip. Knowing the symptoms of AS such as ( impatience with waiting, loud noises, distractions etc)that go with. Of course each child is different and only you the parent really know your child. Anyway I will help if I can.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Newnan, GA (About 7hrs from WDW)
    Posts
    759

    Re: Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor

    Wow, thanks for being available for that. I love how resourceful our TD group can be.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    86

    Re: Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor

    Hi there,
    My 5 year old son hasn't been *officially* diagnosed yet (he's currently undergoing testing for this) but it's a fairly good hunch that he does have this to a certain degree. We're going in November.....we'll have a diagnosis before then. But he has TREMENDOUS difficulty waiting in line, he becomes extremely overstimulated in crowds, has a tendency to "take off" on impulse, etc. I tend to get a little stressed when we are out in public but like everything else, he has his good days and his bad days. What I see as being an issue is the whole waiting in line thing....he really struggles with this and it can be a challenge getting him to stay with us without trying to zoom to the front of the line.

    That being said, I have a few questions. How was your experience on the whole? How did you prepare yourselves and your daughter for the trip? How did you handle the waiting in line, the crowds, etc? What worked/didn't work? What did you do for "down time" for your daughter (not necessarily just going back to the hotel room)? If my son becomes overstimulated and it's clear that it's time to bring him to a state of "calm", I don't want him to feel like he's being punished by just bringing him back to the hotel room, so if there is anything that you did or anyplace in particular you brought your daughter to help calm her as an alternative to hiding away in the hotel, I would love to know! Any tips would be appreciated! And thanks so much for posting this. I was very pleasantly surprised to see this post and think it's wonderful of you to reach out in this way to other parents of children with special needs.
    --Kim (Proud Disney mom of Will and Francesca )

    WDW: June '79 (off grounds), June '84 (split Contemporary & Polynesian), June/July'87 (Polynesian), June '89 (Grand Floridian), May '99 (Beach Club), May '04 (Will's 1st trip - Boardwalk), Nov '07 (Francesca's 1st trip - Boardwalk), planning May '10 (Boardwalk)

  4. #4

    Lightbulb Re: Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor

    Hello!
    I did not want you to think I was never going to answer you, but have been out of town. I wanted to have time to give you my full attention. I will sit down this afternoon and reply to your questions. My daughter is also helping me with ideas!

    Okay, here I am ready to answer your questions the best I can. I have found that each Asperger child has different strengths and weaknesses. Since my daughter is 13 she has had lots of therapy and been taught strategies for dealing with her emotions, etc... Emily was also diagnosed around the age of 5. I will tell you that it is a constant and ongoing learning process. Being five, your son has the AS and the typical impatience of any other five year old. I undertand and know the stress you feel taking your child anywhere new. You did not mention if you were going to Disney with other family members who will be able to help you. Also are you staying on the Disney property or not?
    What are your sons strengths and interests? At the age of 5 my daughter was interested in Dinosaurs, animals and nature, and legos. Now at 13 she still loves all of those, but also animation, architecture, food(a budding gourmet), also facts on everything.
    Emily does not like sudden suprises, she likes to know what is going to happen and when, likes to keep to a schedule, although she has become more flexible as time goes on. I gave her stack of information books on Disney World so she could study up on it for 6 months before we went. She really enjoyed looking for the "Hidden Mickeys" all over the park. Are you aware of them? Emily is so observant and attentive to the smallest detail, she was quite good at spotting them. There is a book about The Hidden Mickeys you can buy, or go on line and most Disney World web sites discuss them. If you know of a few you can have him looking for them.
    Emily used to dart off also but thankfully that is no longer a problem. I know it is a huge worry! Would your son consent to wearing a child to parent tether? Perhaps if you told him you yourself did not want to get misplaced from him, he would not feel it was too babyish. When you get to the park take him into a store or stop a castmember, and show him what their nametag looks like. They have a specific background color behind their names. Tell him if he is ever misplaced (lost) from you to find someone wearing this exact type of tag for help. My daughter wore a lanyard which carried her Key to the Kingdom(room key), and a paper decribing her condition, her FIRST name and our cellphone number(always have it on and with you), also the number of a contact person back home, and the name of our resort(not the room number-too much information). This made me feel like if she did get lost from us and start to panic, she would have the appropriate information on her, it brought me some piece of mind.
    If you go to guest relations as soon as you enter the park, you can get a Guest Assistance Card. Some people take a letter from the Dr along also as proof. Take your child with you to get the card to show you are being honest about it.(Believe it or not some people are not, and just want to get special privleges) The Guest Relations can explain better how it works for you. It will not get you to the head of the line, but it may shorten your wait! We did not get this card, I debated and since Emily does not want to "appear" different to others, decided against getting one. I did have a Dr letter with me, just in case it became apparent that we did need it.
    I will stop here for today, more tomorrow!
    Last edited by Mamamouse; 09-02-2007 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    86

    Re: Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor

    Hi there! I'm sorry it took me awhile to get back....My son's first week of school was this week (Kindergarten, new school, emergency IEP meeting, dealing with the ridiculousness that is our leadership in the special ed dept., etc.) - I'm sure you know the drill!

    Anyhow, the things he really really likes are anything to do with wheels. He's fascinated with wheels.....trains, cars, etc. Last time we went he was 2, and he absolutely loved the train ride around the park. This time he's thrilled that he'll be big enough to ride Thunder Mountain. He also loves to build things, put things together, little science-like experiments, and loves anything to do with water. He also loves doing little tasks, or taking on little jobs. He thrives on that! He loves feeling like he's helping out. I LOVE your idea about the Hidden Mickeys...something like that would be right up his alley. He notices literally EVERY little thing, just like you said about your daughter, and he has an incredible memory. I think your Hidden Mickeys suggestion is a GREAT idea! It will keep him constructively busy and make him feel really great about himself for finding them (another thing he LOVES to do is win all the time! If he doesn't, his anxiety skyrockets. We're working on that...).

    As far as his sensory issues go, he is definitely more of a seeker vs. defender, though there are some things he is quite defensive of. He definitely takes picky eating to the next level, but we already plan to have pb sandwiches handy...practically the only thing he'll eat in addition to mac & cheese and pizza. I'm not too worried about rides because of his being a seeker....he loves the motion. And he loves to spin. The trick is capturing the precise time when he approaches the threshold of overstimulation. Once you cross over, forget it. The consequences can be pretty disastrous. But before we get to that point, he is just a total joy and downright fun! We're still learning, but I think I generally have a pretty good grasp at when it's time to remove him from a situaton and give him that downtime he needs. And waiting in line is tough. I'm not sure how he'll handle the loudness of the fireworks. He has a lot of anxiety issues and his biggest fears at this point are fire and bees. He likes fireworks from afar, but right there, I'm not sure, we'll just have to see. He cried when we went last time but then again, he was only 2 and I think that's pretty common for 2 year olds. In fact, my daughter will be 2 when we go, so we may not be able to stay for the fireworks anyway!

    As far as who we'll be with, we are going with my mother, sister, & couple of family friends. My mother & sister are both extremely supportive & understanding of Will's condition. And we'll also be staying at the Boardwalk.

    Thank you sooo much for your tips! If you come up with any other ideas, definitely let me know! This has been so helpful.
    --Kim (Proud Disney mom of Will and Francesca )

    WDW: June '79 (off grounds), June '84 (split Contemporary & Polynesian), June/July'87 (Polynesian), June '89 (Grand Floridian), May '99 (Beach Club), May '04 (Will's 1st trip - Boardwalk), Nov '07 (Francesca's 1st trip - Boardwalk), planning May '10 (Boardwalk)

  6. #6
    My son was also just previously diagnosed oct 30 and of course I'm just now Learning. But we are planning a trip to WDW in 08/13 and wanted to say thank you so much for this thread!!! I didn't think of any of this stuff before finding this thread. My son has AS, ADHD, anxiety PTSD and is terrified of people so I think all these things mentioned will definitely help in my case also. So I just wanted to say thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183

    Re: Asperger Syndrome(AS) visitor

    As this thread has been dormant for over 5 years, it is now being closed.
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

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