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Old 09-09-2009, 01:58 PM   #1
billyvmom
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autism and parades and shows????

My son is high functioning but, when he has too many people crowding around it can be messy. We go to the parades when they have them for holidays but, I am armed with a campsite full of stuff and get there 3 hours before it starts to ward off tons of people around us. we can't do that at Disney. We got a prescription diagnois from our pediatrician about anxiety and crowds causing major overstimulus issues in case they don't want to give is the GAC card. We want to know is there a place set aside for kids like my son that need a little more space to function?
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:35 PM   #2
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How old is your son? My son is 6 and is also HFA. I've ALWAYS gotten the GAC for him and never had a problem with it. Just bring along your papers just in case. But unless I've missed something, there is no special area to view the fireworks/parades away from the crowds. My recommendation for you is that if he can fit in a stroller, get him one for the parade...it gives him "his own space" and just set up camp right along the parade route. And for viewing the fireworks, I always like the seating area over by the Tomorrowland Noodle Station, it can get a little crowded, but nothing like on Main Street.

Overall, Disney has always been really fantastic for us though! Have fun!
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Old 09-09-2009, 03:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyvmom View Post
My son is high functioning but, when he has too many people crowding around it can be messy. We go to the parades when they have them for holidays but, I am armed with a campsite full of stuff and get there 3 hours before it starts to ward off tons of people around us. we can't do that at Disney. We got a prescription diagnois from our pediatrician about anxiety and crowds causing major overstimulus issues in case they don't want to give is the GAC card. We want to know is there a place set aside for kids like my son that need a little more space to function?
Thanks
Brandy
There is not a set aside space. Parades tend to cause mass crowding. (We have space issues too). People will crowd into ANY available space. The wheelchair viewing areas are usually packed tight, so I would not recommend those. Depending on when you are going, viewing the parade in Frontierland may be less crowded than Main Street.
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Old 09-09-2009, 03:32 PM   #4
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The GAC is intended for attractions only. It is not intended for anything related to parades or Meet & Greets.

Basically if you want to go to a parade or watch fireworks or anything like that there is no special treatment. The Parade Disabled Viewing areas are designed so that wheelchairs or ECVs are in the very front and other people will stand behind them. And they will get very crowded
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:08 PM   #5
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I have never heard of anyone having problems getting a GAC for ASD if they in any form explain their child’s limitations; so do not worry about that.

While there are no specific areas designated for parades, in most cases we found places that are a little further back since for us auditory sensory issues are a concern, it takes a little scouting. We like the 2nd floor patio at the entrance to MK, which is attached to the train station.

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Old 09-09-2009, 06:04 PM   #6
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We got a prescription diagnois from our pediatrician about anxiety and crowds causing major overstimulus issues in case they don't want to give is the GAC card.
That's basically a worthless piece of paper. The CM cannot ask for it, doesn't have to read it, and a diagnosis means nothing for accommodations. What is needed is a clear idea of what would be difficult for your child (which you've stated here) and the ability to communicate that to the CM.

Unfortunately, as stated previously, the GAC only works for attractions, and the parades are insanely crowded, up to an hour before they start. It was great advice to suggest using a stroller to create a safe place.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:44 AM   #7
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I have two children with ASD, one with High Functioning Aspergers and one with more moderate/severe classic autism. To be honest my Aspie sounds much like your child and we totally avoid the parades. It's just way too overstimulating for him and not worth the potential meltdown. We have found that parade times are great times for a CS meal/snack or a time to ride rides that are not along the parade route as most people are at the parade.

We have a stroller that we use but we have found that while it's great for personal space is really does nothing for sound and sight over-stimulation.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:23 PM   #8
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We have similiar issues to what you mentioned. Which parade do you plan to see? Magic Kingdom? Our strategic move is to sit right on the corner of Main Street. We put down a beach towel and sit my son right next to the trash can so no one will be on that side of him and I'm on the other side. We arrive about 1 hour before the parade starts and take turns walking around in the gift shops before the parade stops. When we were there a man had hula hoops and my son played with those for awhile. Another good place is on the benches up on the train depot area.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:33 PM   #9
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You can view SpectroMagic in the MK from Peco's Bills. You could get a window seat inside or sit outside in the picnic area. If you choose to sit outside, you would be sitting behind the standing crowd, and that might be a little easier for him to deal with. If he got agitated, then you could go sit inside the restaurant.
However, that being said, I would just skip the parades for sanity's sake. It's not sitting in the crowd that's too bad, it's the mad rush afterwards. Everyone wants out NOW! That is what might be too much for him to handle.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:15 PM   #10
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We are thinking about using the stroller and I read ear muffs work well but, I am nervous!!! Guess I could try take up as much space possibe like we do at home red wagon and towels strollers here we come so if any of u see the rude lady with more stuff than is necessary inhibiting your way for three hours before the parade say hi and wink! If that does'nt work my DH is taking my DD to the parades while me and my son have us time without the "Little sister bugging us" Wish me luck
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:25 PM   #11
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Don't count on saving too much space! it isn't like at home believe me someone will take it over if you aren't physically taking up the space. They will stand on your towels lean on your stroller, edge their way in. Push their kids up to the curb. If you end up with your own physical space you are doing well!

You would be better to just take up what is needed by your bodies than trying to spread out too much because that is like an invitation to the late arrivals to bee line to the openings and they can be very aggressive.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyvmom View Post
We are thinking about using the stroller and I read ear muffs work well but, I am nervous!!! Guess I could try take up as much space possibe like we do at home red wagon and towels strollers here we come so if any of u see the rude lady with more stuff than is necessary inhibiting your way for three hours before the parade say hi and wink! If that does'nt work my DH is taking my DD to the parades while me and my son have us time without the "Little sister bugging us" Wish me luck
Wagons aren't allowed in any WDW park.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:39 AM   #13
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Assuming your child really like parades and shows it may be a good tool for helping with learning some “crowd skills” and accumulate tollerance. You can start by trying it “up front” but you run the risk of overwhelming your child and then it may be along tome before this enticement is strong enough to use again. My suggestion would be to start well back in an uncrowned area and let it be your child’s request to get closer. Explain that it may be more difficult and why and then slowly work closer at that event if possible and future events, also moving back a little when it gets unmanageable for your child. It always amazes me how much more our children can tolerate when they are “in control” and by communicating with you can push their envelope but know that they can “fallback” if needed.

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Old 09-11-2009, 09:37 PM   #14
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Parades & fireworks.

My 9.5yo son is HFA (Aspie) and we always bring a copy of his diagnosis and have never had a problem getting the card. Don't worry about this at all. You can always mention something to Guest Relations and see if they have any suggestions. I have gone up to show hosts/hostesses and asked if they had any alternatives to standing in line for the show. Every time they have told me to come back just before the show starts and they give us nice seats. (i.e. Playhouse Disney & Indiana Jones)

We generally avoid all parades and actually take advantage of the crowd paying attention to the parade to visit a generally popular area that may be empty. We have made dining arrangements at Crystal Palace during the parades (especially the night ones). Although the view isn't spectacular, you can still see pretty well and the sound is of course not screaming loud. We have also put our double Disney issue stroller on the hill that approaches Thunder Mountain while the parade was going on below. Our Aspie son was far enough back from the crowd that he was comfortable but was thrilled with the view.

Last December we stayed in a Magic Kingdom view concierge level room. The room was nice and roomy but the snacks and services of the concierge level were disappointing especially when you pay that much money! However, the ability to see the fireworks from the comfort of our room was worth it. My son loved it but tired of it quickly and retired to the room. This time, the rest of us got to enjoy the remaining show without him going into meltdown.

We ALWAYS bring my son's Nintendo DS (his stim). He rarely brings it out but still good to have. If your child has something that stims him I suggest you bring it in the park.

I have only had one negative thing happen during one of our trips into Animal Kingdom. A parade had let out and the crowd was moving and enveloped us. Before I could grab my son's hand (he was 8) he ended up being 2 people in front of me. I could see him but he couldn't see me so he kept turning around nervously looking for me. The older gentleman (jerk) in between us yelled at him, "turn around and keep walking or get the F*#( out of the way!" I am not a shy woman and let him know that he was screaming at my disabled child. He answered that maybe he should wear a sign letting everyone know he was disabled. I quickly responded that perhaps he could find a similar sign letting everyone know he was an A$&H(L#!

We are season pass holders and go many times each year. If you have any questions or just want to chat and get some ideas feel free to contact me.

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Last edited by GlenbeulahGal; 09-11-2009 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Forgot something.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:31 AM   #15
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the nighttime parade is way too much for my kiddos on many levels, so I can't speak too much about spectro, but going on the off season on a TGM green day helps a huge amount! Seriously, last September we were the only ones on the pavement in front of the railway station; we must have had no kidding at least 20 feet on either side; it was bizarre. Anyway, if you have to go when it's more crowded, here's what we do. put DD and DS in the double stroller, put DM on one side, me on the other and DH behind the stroller. then we make sure to have snacks and either the nintendo DS or a video in their hands, ear protectors on for the wait. So far it's worked great.
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