Disabled child in a wheelchair and the kids clubs

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Never to old, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    Hi! My 9 year old nephew who has cerebral palsy will be cruising with us in Sept. He has motor difficulties and uses a wheelchair. I have received conflicting information from Disney representatives regarding him using the kids club. We were told that they have a specially trained person on one day. The next day we were told no and that they can not provide him with a lot of help. I was wondering if anyone has any personal experience with a physically disabled child and the use of the kids club? Would an adult family member be able to go with him so that he could participate in the activities? Any suggestions, information and tidbits is appreciated.
     
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  3. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    During the regular Secured Programming, no adults other than DCL CMs are allowed to be in the club with the kids. During Open House hours, adults (parents) must be present for the child to attend.

    AFAIK, they will do their best to assist your child during the Secured Programming hours, but you will not have a dedicated CM for that.

    :cutie:
     
  4. NCConch

    NCConch Mouseketeer

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    I have been wondering the same thing. My son will be 13 and is in a chair as well. I am sure it will depend on how "involved" the child is. Other than having doors held open he is rather independent.
     
  5. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    My nephew is able to use switches and some levers but these need to be given to him. He is not able to participate without assistance from another person. In school he has a personal care assistant. If Disney can not provide someone and does not allow a family member to help then I feel they are not in compliance with the American disability act.
     
  6. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    That may be, but the ships are registered in the Bahamas. The ADA doesn't apply.

    DCL's compromise is the Open House hours when family members may participate in the club/lab with the child.

    :cutie:
     
  7. EastYorkDisneyFan

    EastYorkDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    They may not actually have to follow the Americans with disability act as the ship is registered in the Bahamas, and I believe the actual ownership of the company is also of shore too.
     
  8. NCConch

    NCConch Mouseketeer

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    The ADA is a little iffy in this area. Govt institutions have to do more than private care givers.
     
  9. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, might switch to carnival who has given assistance in the past. I had heard from other parents that Disney cruise line lacks in this area. I guess I was hoping that it wasn't true. I know that they do a great job in the parks.
     
  10. IncredibleboysMom

    IncredibleboysMom DIS Veteran

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    My seven year old has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair and forearm crutches. He has been on a Disney cruise every year of his life and loves the clubs. They are very accessible, but can be very crowded. While the counselors have always seemed very attentive and helpful, there is a large ratio of kids to adults. If your nephew has difficulty communicating, I would not leave him there. Is there another child in your party who could be his "buddy" in the club? I don't know what they are required to provide, but I doubt they have staff for a one on one situation unless you get that clarified ahead of time.

    Have fun whatever you decide!
     
  11. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    Many years ago, we were on a cruise where the family provided a "nanny" to stay with a child using a motorized wheelchair. Unfortunately, under the policies instituted in December, 2011, this would no longer be permitted.

    Per DCL policy, they cannot provide one on one care to any child in the programming. They do what they can to assure participation to all, but won't assign extra personnel to handle kids requiring assistance. And, as above, they are not required to comply with the ADA.

    Bottom line, it really depends on what the child needs. If the child is basically independent, all will be well. If he or she requires a lot of assistance, it may not be possible. During "open house" hours, the child and a parent is welcome to participate in whatever is scheduled during that time. During secure programming hours, a parent or caregiver is not permitted. Yeah, one of those situations where the actions of a few spoil a situation for all. Sorry.

    One suggestion--if you can cruise during a "non-busy" time, it may be better. Avoid Kids Sail Free cruises and holiday cruises as these have a ton of kids on them. While there is a maximum number of kids allowed in any age group, it is a high number. There are lots of cruises with relatively fewer kids, which equates to more time and attention from staff.
     
  12. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    I don't know if they would let his brother in because he is 14. Although my special needs nephew is 9, he looks much younger than that. We wanted him to have the opportunity to be with peers. Carnival in the past year allowed us to hire a staff member. Disney does not. They also give us conflicting information. I know he could go in during the open house, that is not the same. Things are not turned on and it is primarily adults checking out the space. So again no peer interaction. This is a tough decision.

    Did you find that your son was able to navigate the rest of the ship in his wheelchair? Was there anything that was not accessible or was challenging?
     
  13. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    I just wish they would let us hire one of their staff members. I just envision him being placed somewhere and forgotten. That wouldn't be fun or safe for him. We plan to sail in mid Sept. I am hoping that this will be a less crowed time with kids just heading back to school.
     
  14. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    I think they have open house in the kids club on boarding day before the ship sails. Does anyone know if there might be kids there during that open house as opposed to the ones they do on cast away cay day?
     
  15. shburks

    shburks DIS Veteran

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    I don't have any advice for you expect to correct the Open House information. Everything is on during Open House and there are kids and adults in there playing. Open House on embarkation day is a little different than the normal Open House. But you're right...there may not be much peer interaction since those are mostly families with children of various age groups.

    There is Open House on embarkation day where anyone can check it out. We were there in August and our son (and lots of other kids and CMs) were in there playing and interacting while their parents were checking things out! There are Open House hours every day and not just that day and CC day.
     
  16. samily

    samily DIS Veteran

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    We always stop buy the clubs on boarding day to get the kids their wristbands and there are always a lot of kids in there running around. It is usually free play, not many organized activities going on. I am not sure what you mean regarding open house on Castaway Cay day? We have been there a couple of times after we have returned from the island and there have always been a few kids in there at that time too.

    Not sure if you are aware, but there are now open house times everyday, where sometimes they have specific activities scheduled so you can come in as a family and participate. They do flubber, make cookies, etc. If you don't want to do the activity, you don't have to. If the lab has open house, then all the kids in the secured program are moved to the club, and vice versa when the club has open house. I have also seen the Edge and Vibe clubs have open house times in the am.
     
  17. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    There is a difference between Open House and free play time (although free play may occur during open house). As noted, during open house hours, a parent must be with a kid. Anyone of any age can come in. There are activities scheduled (check the navigator). This is the new open house system started in December 2011.

    Free play time occurs any time there is not a scheduled activity, and is also available to kids who choose to not participate in scheduled activities.
     
  18. NCConch

    NCConch Mouseketeer

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    My son has SB too. Any advice on getting around the ship with a chair. In everyday occurances people are more than accommodating and let us in line, through doors and on elevators before them. I could understand people on a three night cruise being a little bit more pressed for time and not as friendly.
     
  19. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    There are Open House hours every day for 1 or 2 hours, once or twice a day. During those times there are activities going on.

    I'm afraid you may find that people will rush the elevators, regadless of whether someone else (in a wheelchair, or not) is already waiting. Sometimes it's because of rudness, other times, people just have blinders on and have that "it's all about me" attitude.

    :cutie:
     
  20. IBelieveInTheMagic

    IBelieveInTheMagic DIS Veteran

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    I know this might not be the info you are really looking for, however on our first Dream cruise my DS became great friends with a wheelchair bound boy (about his age). We ran into the family throughout the cruise and the two of them just talked like they had known each other for years. It really touched me and I had a proud moment. We've always raised DS to treat everyone the same, regardless of looks, disabilities, etc and it's nice to SEE it happen. He still talks about his friend in the wheelchair.

    SO, based on our personal experience I do know they accommodate them but to what degree and what happens if the child needs assistance, I'm not sure.

    I hope it works out for you and you have a magical cruise!! :goodvibes

    Heather
     
  21. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    I wouldn't expect people to necessarily allow you into the elevators/lines before them, but you certainly shouldn't have to wait beyond "your turn" due to rude people. The problem on the ships is that the elevators are small and they may arrive at your floor already full. I'm probably just not a nice person, but I would not hesitate to point out to someone that "We were here before you" and take the elevator when it comes.

    There will be CMs to help you with restaurant and theater entrances and seating. There are wheelchair seating areas, as well as provisions for those guests who can/choose to transfer. This can be funny. On one cruise, we were instructed to remain seated till the CM brought my friend's chair after the show. So we sat....and the announcement asking all guests to clear the theater came on, and we continued to sit. A few minutes later, the house manager came down and said something like, "I'm sorry ladies, but I have to ask you to leave so we can prepare for the next show." He about stroked out when I said that we would be happy to leave, but had been told to wait until someone brought the wheelchair. He fell over himself with apologies, and as soon as he made a call, the chair appeared. There had been a change of shift and the info about the chair had not been passed on--not a big deal to us at all. The CMs were like "OH MY, I can't believe this happened...."

    You will have all the assistance you need from CMs, but there are a few things they can't do. For instance, they can't lift the chair with the person in it onto a tender boat (safety for the guest and the CM....) You'll find the ship very wheelchair friendly. The biggest problem is other guests who think it is OK to park a stroller in the hall--this can be a major obstruction for a wheelchair guest on his/her own!
     

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