First time with a sensory kid, ideas?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by GoofyG, Jun 4, 2010.

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  1. GoofyG

    GoofyG DIS Veteran

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    So this is my 7th time going with my kiddos. But my 1st time going with my DD4 newly diagnosed with sensory processing. She also has behavorial issues. She is a sensory seeker, touches everything, everyone, hangs or hits people or runs off from you. She also has vestibular, and some loud noises can bother her. We usually tag team the lines, one waits then we hand her tot hat oerson when they are close tot he front. I'm sure we get looks, but we would get more then looks when she starts swinging her arms everywhere and hitting that person. My concern is the times we have gone were Oct and Feb, not to crowded. We are going the last week of July. I've recently heard about the GAC. Will they let everyone in the party together? I have 3 kids and my parents are coming to. But there needs to be 2 people with her to tag team her. She wears you out fast. So I hate to leave another person in line with the other 2 kids, while the other 2 adults go to take care of her somewhere else. I'm taking her weighted backpack with us and a tangle toy that she can play with with her fingers. Any ideas or help would be appreciated. This is a new experience for us. It explains alot that I have been dealing with.
     
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  3. livndisney

    livndisney DIS Veteran

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    Hey I know you!

    Have you considered a stroller for her? You can get the "stroller as a wheelchair " tag and use the stroller in the line. The Gac is limited to 6 people. But really is not intended to shorten the time in line. The stroller will give her her own space and "corral" her at the same time.
     
  4. GoofyG

    GoofyG DIS Veteran

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    She fights the stroller, she would rather walk. She also seeks movement, so i'm afraid she may go even crazier when she gets out of the stroller. I can see how she does and try the zoo. I will ask her therapist what she thinks. It's going to be a pain taking her weighted backpack everywhere too. It might work for the stroller in the line, she couldn't run off.
     
  5. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

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    At WDW, the queues are so long and windy that there's really no way to get up to the loading platform without pushing past a lot of hot, cranky people in line. So having one person go in and waiting until they get up front is really not a good option. It might work at some of the outside and low key queues, but most loading areas are deep inside the buildings.

    Have you thought of using a harness for her? That way, she can have her bit of freedom, but she is still safe.

    Your best bet when going during a busy time is to get to the parks at rope drop, and go on the bigger, more popular attractions right away. Use Fastpass where available, and have your sensory seeking child walk as much as possible around tha park. My sensory seeking daughter needed a lot of exercise, and once she got her battery run down a bit, she was much easier to handle.
     
  6. itradehilton

    itradehilton Mouseketeer

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    I understand how it feels to have a child who is always "on" we have learned as many hand games eg: rock paper scissors, to try and make line waiting better. Also playing I-Spy.
     
  7. blondietink

    blondietink DIS Veteran

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    Have you tried the hearing protection type of headphones? My son wears them all the time, and can still hear us talking in normal voices from another room. They help his jumpiness a lot and especially at WDW they help him filter out some of the overly loud things that bother him so he can focus on the more important things, like characters. The stroller also helps tremendously as long as he is moving in it seems to satisfy his need for constat movement and alows him to concentrate more on the experience. the constant movement is also good for me and weight control ;). Good luck!
     
  8. poohnpigletCA

    poohnpigletCA DIS Veteran

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    Although our daughter is also active after a few hours in Disney with all of the sensory input we found the stroller with the shade pulled down to provide her a comfort zone. We slightly reclined the stroller and then placed an adult lanyard with about 10 pins on it around her neck and across her chest. We brought now other weighted items with us. She collected her pins on the trip it was a great motivator and weighted item.

    In the stroller we would also take a misting fan, water, crunchy and chewy snack foods, her sunglasses and ear plugs on a string. I also place wet washcloth from the hotel in the fridge overnight then I put it in a ziplock bag and took it in the park. It worked out great to cool her off and wipe her down.

    With our daughter it is helpful if she has a small item (typically a stuffed Minnie mouse) that she can hold in one hand and take on rides with her. Also park maps make a nice item for her to keep in one hand and track visually where we are.

    When you enter any park be sure to grab the parade schedule. Do not try navigating down Main Street during parade time. One day we were not paying attention to parade times and tried to exit the park during a parade. :eek: I think a child with no sensory issues would feel overwhelmed.

    That is all I can think of at the moment.
     
  9. LockShockBarrel

    LockShockBarrel Pudge controls the weather.

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    Please please don't take this the wrong way....I just want to put it out there in case it might help or change your plans.

    I've heard people talk about quiet places that some children with autism and similiar issues have been able to wait. I don't know where they are, how they work, of if they really exist, but that might be worth checking into. I'm not sure how much of an option they'd be for you, and if they'd make a fuss over something like "this is supposed to be a quiet place, you're daughter can't be running around" or something to that effect. The other thing (and this is where I sense someone might see an issue with me saying it) is that if you get a GAC, please keep in mind that, especially in July, there will still be other people around you in line. You'll probably run into being in line with more people with canes, or wheelchairs and scooters, and stuff like that. My concern for you would be either your daughter managing to get away from you and wanting to approach the scooters and wheelchair when they're in motion or possibly knocking into canes. She could be bumped into with the scooter if she gets away or if she were to knock into someone who doesn't have the best balance might topple over onto her. Just trying to think of her and everyone's safety. I'm really not trying to be insulting or trying to start anything, just trying to provide some perspective on things that may not cross everyone's mind.

    On another note, and again I couldn't tell you the details on this but I know I read it somewhere on here. It was something about a child who was a flight risk and either autism or a sensory issue having a service animal. The dog was meant to provide a sensory stimulation (the child could touch the dog when they wanted to touch something else) and if the child tried to run, the dog could go into a down position and act as an anchor of sorts. I don't know how involved your situation is, but I thought I'd mention it in case it was something you wanted to look into.
     
  10. GoofyG

    GoofyG DIS Veteran

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    This is all still so new with her. She is one that needs stuff in her hands. I think we have bought a Minnie every time we are there. :rotfl:
    I'm really concern with the crowds and trying to plan as much as possible. This was the only time we could go due to DD6 now having competitive gymnastics and school. I'm going to tlak to her OT in a week and see what all she thinks I need to do or plan. I know I will ba back with more after I tlak to her too. I will say, I did the weighted backpack yesterday at the dentist office, wow she wasn't running all over the place. It was actually nice. She was still LOUD and couldn't be still. But she would have been out the door usually. She actually stayed in the room with me while her sister was finishing up.:yay:
     
  11. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    Many people have found that using a stroller as a wheelchair is very helpful for children with kids with special sensory needs, even if they never use one anywhere else. WDW is a very overwhelming place from a sensory point of view and a stroller is not just to help 'contain' the child, but it also provides a portable 'safe haven' / escape from stimulation.
    If you don't have a stroller that fits your child comfortably, you can rent a special needs stroller (see post #2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread). If you are concerned about the child running off, one of the companies that rents those strollers also rents GPS locators.

    There is also information in the disABILITIES FAQs thread about Guest Assistance Cards (GACs), in post #6. You can get to that thread by following the link in my signature or look near the top of this board. In order to use a stroller as a wheelchair, you need to get a special sticker and/or GAC that states you are allowed to do that.

    My other suggestion would be to use one of the touring plans, such as TourGuide Mike (he is a Theme Parks sponsor and there is a link to his website on that board). Using a planning service like that helps you to be in the quietest part of the quietest park. Many people have posted that having a good touring plan is much more helpful to them than a GAC and that they had previously used a GAC a lot, but found they did not need it with using the touring plan.
    GACs can only help for attractions; if you are in a busy park, it will still be busy and you will encounter lots of other guests and lines for things like bathrooms, restaurants and just moving around. Touring plans can help you to avoid that by knowing where to go where it won't be busy. People haver posted that knowing where to be and when to be there helps them to avoid long waits and most report they did not need to wait more than 10 minutes for anything.
     
  12. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    This is an example of one of the quieter waiting places - many of them are for waiting for shows. They are usually inside the building and there may or may not be busy places you have to wait before getting to them.
    [​IMG]
    This particular one if for Laugh Floor in Magic Kingdom, but is typical of many of the waiting areas for shows.
    The 'regular' waiting area is to the left of the picture and will be full of people being told to 'move to the front' as they enter the room. The quieter place is the chained area to the right of the picture. It is reserved for people with mobility devices (such as wheelchairs, walkers, ECVs, strollers as wheelchairs) and people with special needs. That doesn't mean it is always quieter - in most cases, it is just a sectioned off part of the regular line like this. It does protect a little from other guests being so close by. Often, guests in that area are allowed into the theater a minute or 2 ahead of other guests because they need time to get to settled or to get to a specific area.

    If there are many guests with special needs, those areas can get get more full too. For example, at Turtle Talk at Epcot, the special needs waiting area is a separate room. Usually when we have gone, it has just been us or maybe one or 2 other parties. The last time we went, I counted 28 people in the room. It is a big enough room that we were not 'squished' together, but someone expecting an empty room may have still been overwhelmed.

    Some places do not have a chained off area like this - Little Mermaid in the Studio is an example where everyone waits together in one room. Those with special needs are told to follow the black line along the left side of the room. Doing that would allow you to have a wall on one side, but the stroller would be your best 'friend' there because it forms a separation between your child and the other guests.

    Also, for shows, the stroller as a wheelchair can be taken into shows and your child can remain in it during the show. That also provides some separation from other guests.
     
  13. itradehilton

    itradehilton Mouseketeer

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    We visited Disneyland many times before we knew about our DS had SPD and vestibular issues. We knew he melted down but didn't know why. As a family we would always do rope drop, not worry about going on everything, and leave the park at lunch to avoid the crowds as much as possible. He would always want a map to hold. Having that mid day break to go to the pool or have quiet time in the room has allowed us to have many enjoyable trips. The best advice is to watch for the signs your child gives you to indicate when their stimulation level has been reached.
     
  14. kwdancer26

    kwdancer26 Earning My Ears

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    Try calling Guest Services. I know you can get some kind of special card that you can give to any Cast Member for assistance. I think Disney will have some good ideas on how they can help. Luckily, Disney is so willing to help with any type of disability. They're even great with my food allergies. I think you picked the right place to go.
     
  15. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

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    Calling Guest Services will not work. All you will get is the Main Switchboard and they will identify themselves as Guest Services.

    And the "special card" you are referring to is the Guest Assistance Card, discussed in great detail in Post #6 of the disABILITIES FAQs (which is a locked sticky in this forum or you can get directly there by clicking on the link in my signature).

    It is not up to Disney to provide suggestions or ideas; you have to be able to describe the needs (or accommodations requirements) of the individual to a person in the Guest Relations Office in a Park to get a GAC issued.
     
  16. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    ::yes::
    exactly
     
  17. slenkey

    slenkey Mouseketeer

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    Some of the students I work with have sensory needs as well. Some things that have worked for my kiddos include plastic Mardi Gras beads, Tangle Toys (which I think you already mentioned), clothing with different appliques on them (think iron on patches on jeans - then ask her to touch different parts of the patch as a game), play doh, and stress balls. Also, has your OT or PT used deep tissue massage with her? This may help calm her during high stress times...

    Hope this helps. Have fun!!!!
     
  18. LockShockBarrel

    LockShockBarrel Pudge controls the weather.

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    Sue, I've been in that part of the MonstersInc Laugh Floor before (the chained off part) when I was there last time and was with our service dog. I didn't realize that's what they considered the quiet area. It was nice being a little farther away from the big crowd, but it was very noisy.
     
  19. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    "Quiet" meaning less people - I think I may need to be more specific.
     
  20. tndislvr

    tndislvr Mouseketeer

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    GoofyG, just wanted to send hugs your way as I truly know what you are going through. My DS(4) was diagnosed with SPD at around 3 years of age. I don't really have any great words of wisdom for Disney - just wanted you to know it WILL get better. DS has been undergoing OT for over a year now and it has helped tremendously. We still have issues and the OT has warned there may be other things down the line but with therapy DS has done a complete 180. Wishing only the best for you and your DD!
     
  21. GoofyG

    GoofyG DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! It can be very overwhelming, but i'm glad something is finally happening. I kept telling the pediatrician that something wasn't right. She has some behavorial issues too, it's crazy! She also has a speech delay due to a submucou cleft palate. She had surgery to fix it in March of this yr. She is better, but is still behind speech wise for her age. It was her speech therapist that picked up the sensory problems.
     
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