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Adults with austim tips

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by cathug10, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. cathug10

    cathug10 Earning My Ears

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    Hi there.
    In February 2014 my mum,friend and I are going to WDW and Discovery Cove for the first time.

    My mum and I both have high functioning autism. My mum can control her autism better than me.

    We have considered a GAC for me. Would it be worth it?

    Do you have any tips on how to handle adult autism? Would it be the same as some of the child tips?

    Sorry for all the questions but I want to be ready for WDW and DC.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
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  3. ThreeBeans

    ThreeBeans Now with FOUR Beans

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    You know your triggers best. You know what you find overwhelming. It's a bit easier for an adult than a child because you can choose to not go into a situation that you may find too much for you, whereas a child may not have a choice.

    If you find that having people breathing down your neck is a sensory nightmare, you can request to wait your turn in a different place.

    Above all, though, you need to be self-aware and self-advocate.

    For what it's worth, of the four parks I find Hollywood Studios to be the least ASD friendly. Least organized layout, poor crowd control, and you're likely to find yourself swept up in a horribly noisy performance or such, or a crowd of people, without any warning.
     
  4. ThreeBeans

    ThreeBeans Now with FOUR Beans

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    Oh, get there for rope drop, using a touring plan (TouringPlans.com is good stuff). Not getting there until an hour or two after parks open is a recipe for disaster.
     
  5. Piper

    Piper DIS Veteran

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    My BIL has high functioning autism. I have been to WDW with him twice. We just used a good touring plan and fast passes. If a line looked too crowded, he didn't go in it.

    My nephew also has HFA, I have been with him both as a young teen and a young adult (He was 25 the last time.) Again, the touring plan, fastpasses and not putting himself in a situation he knew he couldn't handle. He also went back to the resort with me most afternoons and while I rested, he relaxed in his room and read or swam.

    My grandson is a lot more severe in his behaviors. Just taking him to Moody Gardens was difficult. We haven't tried anything Disney yet.
     
  6. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

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    Yes, you have the same rights as a child, so if you find situation where your disability prevents you form having equal ability to use the parks attractions, ask for accommodations, by GAC or other means.

    In general the best thing you can do is to enjoy the parks at a reasonable pace so as to not get stressed out.
     
  7. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    I think it really depends on you and your particular issues associated with your autism.

    My DD15 has Asperger Syndrome. We get a GAC for her but don't use it often. My goal is to get her to a point where she doesn't need any accomodations because that means she's coping with the issues that interfere with her life better. This is my goal for her for life in general because I know the world won't accomodate her. On vacation I'm willing to accept accomodations because, well, it's vacation, but I do try to keep it to a minimum. We really don't use it often at all. Most of her issues are handled with a detailed touring plan and FPs.

    I also have Asperger Syndrome. I've never needed a GAC. My own issues I can take care of by using a detailed touring plan and FPs and by focusing on my coping strategies for situations that are stressful for me.

    There are a few attractions we simply don't go to or we split up for so that not everybody goes to them because one or some of us can't handle them. Of course this isn't only due to issues associated with our autism; my DD12 has her own sensory issues that prevent her from being able to do certain attractions and she's not autistic. It just is what it is and there's just no accomodations for certain issues (for example they can't really slow a ride down or turn down the volume so DD12 doesn't freak out and can't stop smells that are disturbingn to DD15).

    This is NOT my way of saying don't get a GAC. It's my way of saying that you really need to understand your own issues and figure out what you can handle and what you can't handle. If there are things you determine that you can't handle then talk to Guest Relations about them to find out if there are any accomodations for those issues.
     
  8. ThreeBeans

    ThreeBeans Now with FOUR Beans

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    This is what I was trying to say, but you expressed it a lot better :banana:
     
  9. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    I wanted to add that the reason it's different for an adult and a child is that adult have had a lot more years to learn their triggers and coping strategies and is generally more self aware than children. Less high functioning adults will need accomodations than high functioning children though that doesn't by any means no adults will need them.
     
  10. cathug10

    cathug10 Earning My Ears

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    Thanks to everyone for their help.

    I really should of added this in the beginning but I am a child in the way that I don't know my triggers and I haven't found any coping strategies .

    My psych report says I'm basically a small intelligent child in an adults body.

    Well I feel embarrassed. Never thought I'd have to write that.
     
  11. ThreeBeans

    ThreeBeans Now with FOUR Beans

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    I'll be honest. If you mean literally that you have no coping mechanisms at all, none, WDW is not the place for you. It's a sensory nightmare, even for the neurotypicals. It can be very, very difficult for me, and I've got a pretty decent toolbox of functional strategies.

    Figure out what you do. Do you stim? How do you stim? Is it something you can slip away and do unobtrusively if you need to?

    Have you tried breathing/anxiety exercises?

    If you can't identify your triggers and you don't have functioning coping tools, you might want to look at a very different holiday, like a quiet beach vacation. Maybe a little beach house, or a cabin in the woods.

    If you don't know what your triggers are and you don't know what you need to avoid them, a GAC is going to be completely useless.
     
  12. cathug10

    cathug10 Earning My Ears

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    My mum knows my triggers and will keep me under control. I was fine in DL Paris. I do breathing exercises. The gac is just for incase. I'm also taking calming tablets ( rescue remedy) and they seem to work. I'm not sure of what stimming is but if it is what I think it is I shake my leg and hands.

    Thanks for the concern though. This is more of a personal challenge to go than anything else.
     
  13. ThreeBeans

    ThreeBeans Now with FOUR Beans

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    What I mean is that the GAC requires you to be able to say specifically what you need and what you can't handle. Can your mom answer those questions?
     
  14. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    Do you go out in public? Do you have a job? What do you do if you start freaking out? Unless you have a total meltdown every single time you get anxious then yes you do have coping strategies. You may not be conciously using them but you have them. It's time for you to start working with some kind of autism specialist (could be an occupational therapist, speech & language pathologist or psychologist) who can help you figure out what your coping strategies are as well as some other ones that you haven't considered and to practice them. This same specialist can help you figure out at least some of your triggers. Knowing your triggers will be invaluable to you in life.

    I'd recommend you start keeping a detailed journal of what you do, the sensory inputs around you (brief note about each sense: smells; what touches you and what you touch; sounds including volume, consistency, suddenness; sights like lights, brightness, motion around you including speed of things moving around you, proximity of things to you, size of the crowd and relative number of people around you meaning just lots, few, etc; how fast you're moved or moving if that's relevant; etc). Do this for every time you get anxious. You'll hopefully start to see some patterns. At least the autism specialist will be able to see some patterns. For the sake of functioning in your every day life you need to figure out what kinds of things trigger your anxiety and sensory issues.

    How do you currently do in crowded places with lots of people around you? Even at slow times of the year at WDW it is still a busy place. There are no accomodations to avoid crowds between attractions and in some attractions you have to be close to a bunch of other people. If you can't handle some place like the mall then you absolutely should follow ThreeBean's advice and consider another vacation destination, at least until you've learned some coping strategies and you biggest triggers.

    If you do go to WDW, unfortunately unless you know what you won't be able to handle then there's no way to even request a GAC. You can give a day a try and that'll certainly make it more obvious to you what you can't cope with at which time you can go to Guest Relations and tell them what happened. They'll provide you with a GAC to accomodate those issues if there is an accomodation for those issues.

    ETA: I just saw your most recent reply where you said your mum knows your triggers. It would really help you a LOT if you worked with her in teaching you to understand your own triggers. It'll lead to a lot more independence than you must have now.

    Stimming is a coping mechanism used by a lot of autistic people. It's things like hand flapping, leg shaking, sniffing, blinking, etc. Basically any kind of repetitive action. It serves the purpose of self-soothing. My 15yo flaps her hands. I bite my nails and shake my legs.

    You say the GAC is just in case. Just in case of what? That's the thing, you need to be able to tell Guest Relations just what will happen to prevent you from going to attractions. Saying you need one because you're autistic will do nothing. You have to know what trigger you need help to avoid. Was there anything in DLP that led to issues?
     
  15. cathug10

    cathug10 Earning My Ears

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    Yep. We're taking a doctor's note just incase too.
     
  16. StitchesGr8Fan

    StitchesGr8Fan DIS Veteran

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    They won't look at it. You or your mom have to tell them what accommodations you need.
     
  17. lahughes2

    lahughes2 Earning My Ears

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    This is cathug10's mom. I appreciate some of the advice given to her.

    Her psychiatrist has told her to take challenges. She needs positive support and encouragement. She's travelled with me around Europe, including Romania. We've been across the US. This is the first holiday we are planning together.

    It's somewhat overwhelming, with such a large amount of hotels and experiences to choose. This has Cat a bit paniced because of this. Her triggers are criticism, dirty areas, rudeness, poor manners and crowds.

    So, we needed practical info - best clean places to stay and eat, best times (like early morning), quiet areas for a break. A nap will be necessary during the hot afternoon.

    We live in a small town in Ireland. She's trying new things all the time. She needs to hear good stuff!
     
  18. AddictedtoDoleWhip

    AddictedtoDoleWhip Mouseketeer

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    I am afraid I don't understand what you mean, I get that she needs to try new things but I can't imagine it being going to WDW as her first new thing when it seems like she doesn't know what gets her upset or is a trigger. People are just being realistic here and trying to give advice even if its something one does not want to hear.

    And everything is subjective when it comes to clean places to stay and eat, personally I love POR because its not decorated crazily and has a laid back feel though I loved The Beach Club and the Yacht one as well when we walked around there before breakfast.
     
  19. MrRomance

    MrRomance Planning and Plotting

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    Hi,

    When you say "high functioning autism" do you have Aspergers?
    What are the things that you find difficult?
    Do you have any sensory issues?
    Are you OK with crowds?

    You may not need a GAC and from our experience they don't actually do much to help ASD people but it will depend on your needs.

    My daughters have different forms of autism. One has Aspergers, the other is very low functioning. They both have different difficulties and need different levels of support.

    If you can give me more information about what you find difficult, I'll be happy to give you my advice on coping at WDW

    :thumbsup2
     
  20. camper06

    camper06 Mouseketeer

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    She is likely to encounter all of this at Disney. Not all the time, but I would say that she will frequently run into dirty areas, rudeness, poor manners and crowds. I understand that you say she needs to be challenged, but maybe before you go to WDW, you can try someplace where she is likely to encounter one or two of her triggers at a time instead of all of them at once.

    You know your daughter best and if you feel she can handle it, go with lower expectations and you may be pleasantly surprised. However, I don't believe a GAC will help with any of her triggers. As others have said, maybe a good touring plan and use of fast passes would be more of a help to her.
     
  21. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    I get it now. Thank you for coming on and explaining. This makes a big difference in the type of advice that you'll receive.

    Is she expected to make decisions about hotels and restaurants or will she just be saying if she likes your decisions or not? It would probably help her a LOT for you to at least narrow down her choices and list the pros and cons of each. We'll gladly help you with that if you'd like. If you list things like budget (max per night), how many beds you need, can you handle double or do you need queen size beds, do you need your room door to open on a hallway or can it open to the outside, does she do better with bright or mute colours or is there no difference, does noise bother her, can she handle transportation that's like public busses, is there anything in particular that scares her (clowns, large icons, etc), is there anything specific about the pool that's important to you (slide, sprawling vs more contained, availability of a plain pool with no features, etc) or anything else you can think of. The more detail you give us, the better we can help you narrow down your choices.

    We've had no problems with cleanliness in any of the restaurants. For TS restaurants I'd recommend for first seating ADRs because the restaurant is almost guaranteed to be running on time at that point and because they tend to not be filled when you're first arriving so they're quieter. For QS restaurants try to eat outside of the peak dining periods. We rarely encounter lines by entering the QS location for lunch by 11:20 and for dinner by 4:30. We tend to eat breakfast in our room using groceries ordered from Garden Grocer so that we're not as rushed in the morning.

    I would HIGHLY recommend a touring plan service. I really like easywdw.com but I know that others like other services. There are 2 ways in which these kinds of sites help. The first is that they tell you which parks will be least crowded on a daily basis and the IMO the better sites give reasons why. The reason this is important is that crowds happen between attractions and at bus stops and you're much less likely to be caught in a crowd in the least crowded park compared to the most crowded park. The second is that they tell you the best time to be at each attraction in order to minimize lines and waits at attractions. As you can imagine, this is invaluable. They include all sorts of strategies including how to maximize fastpasses. Building touring plans can also help a lot because your daughter can have a sense of what to expect every day and even as the day goes along she'll know what's coming up. This is huge. Another benefit I've found with detailed touring plans is that in addition to figuring out ahead of time which attractions we want to see, I also look at which locations we should eat at and I include heading to that location in my plan so that I can be sure we'll get that at a time when there won't be lines. If your daughter's particular about what she eats that also means looking over menus to be sure that there will be options she'll like at your chosen location so that you don't have to search for something on the fly. The detailed touring plan also includes the time to leave the park. It helps prevent the "just one more thing" scenario so many of us are prone to fall into. We leave for a break before our autistic daughter is overwhelmed rather than waiting until she's already struggling. The plan encourages this and being as obsessive compulsive as my daughter and I are, we definitely follow the plan.

    WDW really is in general a pretty clean place. Obviously you'll find dirt and people will make messes as it's a huge place with lots of people but they do a pretty good job in general. They've actually done studies of things like how far apart the trash cans should be so that people won't toss trash on the ground. They take really good care to ensure it's clean. If you find something that's not clean (my experience is that it's most likely to be a room at checkin not being properly cleaned but that's pretty rare too) then just tell a CM and they'll get somebody on it.

    Rude people and poor manners unfortunately you can't do anything about. They're all over the world as you know. Practicing responses to the behaviour is the best thing you can really do and using tried coping strategies when it upsets her. We've encountered mostly really nice people at WDW but there will always be those who are just plain rude unfortunately. But really, in all of our trips I can't actually remember more than a handful of negative people that we've run across but I do remember a lot of really nice and friendly people. We've got a lot of great stories of super people we've come across.

    Does she have any trouble with things like noise, unexpected things happening, speed, flashing lights, anything? That'll help to identify if there are any attractions she should avoid. Does she really like any of these things? Does she like the Fantasyland type rides or is she more into the Tower of Terror and Rock'n Roller Coaster type thrill rides? Just trying to get an idea of how to even direct you for attractions you'll really want to go to vs ones you'll want to avoid.
     

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