Meeting characters when non verbal

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Reddd.12.18, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Reddd.12.18

    Reddd.12.18 Earning My Ears

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    Hi all, my son is ASD and non verbal. Any suggestions on how to approach meeting characters that talk to the guests? Will they notice he won't respond or should I be telling them upfront he's non verbal so they understand why he's not responding? TIA
     
  2. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    Chariters have a way of just knowing, I really would not worry to much, but if you feel that you need to let them know you can tall the photograph or charter handle with then that your child is none virble or you can walk up with your child and just say quietly my child dose not talk but love to____( hug, wave, dance, what ever). but they are really good with a wide verity of disables after you first few you will see.
     
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  4. Reddd.12.18

    Reddd.12.18 Earning My Ears

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    Thank you so much!!
     
  5. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

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    obviously the fully costumed ones won't be talking anyway, so that's easy. the face characters, just quietly indicate to the handler. they know how to handle the shy ones who don't talk. if there are issues with personal space or touching/hugging definitely make sure the handler knows.
     
  6. BizzyDisneyB33

    BizzyDisneyB33 Earning My Ears

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    All good advice. Have a great time!
     
  7. PatMcDuck

    PatMcDuck DIS Veteran

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    I often signal my son is non verbal, to the character or cast member. My son is an adult with Down Syndrome, so they all assume he can speak. (but he has autism too, and only has single random words that may or may not be relevant responses to questions, usually not, although he does understand simple speech).

    I make a comment because otherwise the face character or CM will keep trying. (My short explanation does not offend DS, he does not understand). Usually I make eye contact and just say "he does not really speak....." and that is enough, then they get it and interact with him more appropriately, not waiting for a verbal response.

    I do not have to do this, of course, it just makes me feel more comfortable and seems to make the interaction less awkward.
     
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  8. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    The characters are very well trained and good at picking up cues from guests. They are also used to dealing with young kids, who don't have much language, or kids who are shy around them.
    Some people do say something to the handler to let the character know. I know some people will say something like, "This is xxxx. He's one of Mickey's Special friends". You can tell the handle whatever you think would b helpful.

    My daughter is in a wheelchair, and since we are usually pushing her wheelchair because of the distances, people often assume she has difficulty understanding.
    I will usually say to the character, "This is xxxx. She can't talk, but she understands very well."
    She has a talking device, which she is too shy to use and will sometimes sign to characters (her sign language is very hard to understand) many pick up and will sign to her.

    Our funniest character situation was at Hollywood and Vine at Disney Studio. My husband had made reservations there because it was a buffet. He didn't realize it was a character meal. So, we had 5 adults, including DD in her wheelchair. It wasn't very busy, so the characters kept coming around - especially a female character with a purple dress and red shoes. DD was signing to us about the red shoes and the character picked up on that. So - she kept coming back to our table again and again. I'm sure the characters thought we had come specifically because DD watched the shows they were on. None of us had a clue who the characters were (but they were very kind - especially the girl with red shoes).
     
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  9. Skippyboo

    Skippyboo Mouseketeer

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    Was the purple dress character dressed more like a Princess? It could be Sofia from Sofia the First. The Disney Jr characters are at Hollywood and Vine. I believe before they were at all meals, now it's just breakfast.
     
  10. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    No.
    I know it wasn't her. I've got a little niece who loves Sofia.

    This character had short black hair, a short purple dress with pink trim and big white earrings.
     
  11. Mamabun

    Mamabun Earning My Ears

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  12. Skippyboo

    Skippyboo Mouseketeer

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    Way to solve the mystery party:
     
  13. shellyj

    shellyj Mouseketeer

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    The CMs are all great. My son wears a safety harness/leash and carries an ipad "talker" so he's a little obvious. But I have a default sentence for meeting new people and at Disney I adjust it a little to something like this:
    "Hi, this is E, he doesn't talk with words but he understands what you say and he is so excited to meet you!" The characters, and CMs in general, must go through some good training because they all talk to HIM and only refer to me for translation or to get permission for a hug or something like that.
     
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  14. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    Yes they do go thought some training ( I know charters and the handler, photo pass dose for sure) and I think other CM go thought some trains on how to interact with people with disability not sure if it is the same as the charters photo pass and handlers. But yes they are all very good ( even with adults that can talk but just freeze up and have some hidden disabilities )
     
  15. LoveMMC

    LoveMMC Mouseketeer

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    My DS autism and non verbal (4) likes the characters and got so excited he squeezed Mickey nose Sensory overload.
    My daughter will loudly announce it- this is my brother, he has autism.
    We are fine with it and DS wouldn't be upset by that.
    Our favourite was talking Mickey because he sung to my son (he LOVES music) and he was so happy he tried to bring Mickey home with us. We ended going back to that Mickey multiple times. We didn't pose for the photos - just gave son time with Mickey.
    It made the non talking mickeys less exciting. He wanted them all to sing.
     
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  16. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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  17. k8Davies

    k8Davies K8Davies

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    The handlers are so good on my last trip my son who's 3 ASD and non-verbal had a great time meeting most of the character.

    I just told them before hand and they help take it really slow and the handlers, character and photographer were led by him.

    We ended up with some fanatic shots and memories - Like the moment he went up to Daisy and grabbed her hand is burned into my brain - as he not very social and for him to initiate something like that with a stranger was fabulous (I have to admit I did cry

    My advice would be try a few out, as my DS didn't like meeting any of the Princess at the Fairytale Hall but that was probably more the lighting in the space, think he was having sensory issue in the room, as was very happy meeting Elsa and Anna.

    He didn't like Chewbacca, but loved Kylo Ren. (he's going over to the Dark Side)

    Oh the best one, at Hollywood Studio we queued up at Red Carpet Dreams to meet Mickey and Minnie, got to see Minnie first and he didn't like her, but then you have to queue again to Mickey and leave.

    I thought we'd just get to the end of the queue and exit but he was really excited to see Mickey. Fascinating trying to work out what was wrong with one and right with the other.

    Or it might have been because he loved Daisy, so throwing shades at Minnie as she a bigger star than her lol
     
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  18. Mamabun

    Mamabun Earning My Ears

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    How was Kylo Ren? We've always avoided meeting all 'bad guys' because they stay in character, and we usually travel with a child who is non-verbal and would not deal well at all with mean people. Was Kylo nasty to 3 year old, or did he tone it down?
     
  19. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    LOL I've only met Kylo Ren with other adults in our party, but he seems to have one speed - intense & scary!
     
  20. k8Davies

    k8Davies K8Davies

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    Kylo was really in character not mean but moody, so moody (like me in the mornings lol)

    he was stalking up and down the room and I honestly didn't think it would go well as he was tall, 6ft and all in black with his mask on.

    Have to tell you I was a little intimated but my son thought he was amazing we went as saw him about 3 times over the 2 week trip.

    He was never nasty but definitely moody and aloof (think that's probably why he liked him)

    If the queue is not long I say give it a try. As you can alway peep round the corner before you meet him, then if it's a no the handlers will just let you out the side door.
     
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  21. Mamabun

    Mamabun Earning My Ears

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    I think we will give it a try next trip - thank you!
     
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