Toddler, sensory, and new to all of this

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by javeyloveschelsi, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    Hello all!

    I’m really hoping I could get some guidance or suggestions. Our youngest DS (22 months—he’s our 4th child) is in the process of getting an official diagnosis of what everyone is saying autism. We have met with our early Ed evaluators and his evaluation showed “Atypical” in communication, social/emotional, and we will also be receiving occupational therapy services for him. Our pediatrician has given us her thoughts, they have given us theirs, we see a neurologist on Monday, and just got the paperwork in the mail to get in with the developmental pediatrician who can give us the “official” medical diagnosis (6-9 month wait). We will be visiting Disneyland next month (our kids are 11, 8, 4, and he will turn 2 a couple days after our visit). He does well in public, but he does react to sensory overload. He does not throw fits and is mostly nonverbal, but he does have “tics” (once again I’m sorry if I’m not using the proper verbiage, I’m really trying to learn and process all of this, so excuse my ignorance :( ...), so I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for quieter places to go if it’s too much or areas in shows that we can stand back and watch from afar while DH is with our other children (mostly like the dance parties). I know he is interested in what’s going on when he wants to pay attention to something, but it may just be too much to be too close. Really, I’m just up for any ideas and suggestions as I really have no clue at all as to what I can plan on or should expect since this is new territory for us. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!

    Chelsi
     
  2. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    I would stop at GR and talk to them about his needs in line he might benifet with use of the DAS pass where you can do your wait out side the lines and maybe a stroller as a wheelchair tag so he can have a safe place to be in line. No one here can tell you for sure if these will be given to you but it is up to you to tell GR his needs in line
     
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  4. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    You are going to Disneyland in California? PP suggested a stroller-as-wheelchair tag and I agree that might be quite helpful to provide him a "safe haven" in which to retreat away from the stimulation. That might be all you need. Or if you find it is still overwhelming for him, the first post of this link is information about the DAS (Disability Access Service) at DL/DCA (you can skip the rest of that long thread). The DAS is largely the same as WDW but there are some differences. To request a DAS you'll want to be prepared to explain his needs related to waiting in a standard queue environment and not the diagnosis.

    Here is a link to the Resource for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities. Pages 31-32 offer advice about quieter locations to take a break.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     
  5. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    Thanks so much for the information. I truly appreciate it. I will sit down this evening and read through everything. I just ordered him a new stroller that has a great canopy for him to feel enclosed and I will also be taking our baby carrier (hopefully my back can handle it—he is a BIG boy for one of our kids!). I do have one more question and that my wondering if I read correctly when I was briefly skimming that they do not need paperwork? I would be more than happy to take our IFSP plan showing his delays from his educational evaluation, pediatrician reports, and any papers from the pediatric neurologist if I need to!
     
  6. siren0119

    siren0119 DIS Veteran

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    That's correct - they actually CANNOT ask for proof of diagnosis or medical information, CMs are not medically qualified to make judgements about medical need and that info is protected by both HIPAA and ADA regulations :)
     
  7. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! Question though...How do they prevent abuse of this? I get the laws, but I personally would be more than happy to show that when ‘w’ happens then that causes ‘x,y,z’ to occur for my little one.
     
  8. siren0119

    siren0119 DIS Veteran

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    short story, they can't necessarily prevent abuse. But they have changed the way DAS is used because mobility issues (people who can't stand for long periods or use wheelchairs) are not eligible for DAS now that just about all regular lines are wheelchair accessible. So that reduced people just renting wheelchairs for the sake of "different" access to rides. And DAS doesn't get you instant access to the rides. If waiting in a long line is going to cause sensory/behavior issues, anxiety, etc...you go to the Fastpass line and set up a DAS entry. You are given a return time that is based on whatever the current wait is, less 5 or so minutes. So you're still "waiting" the same amount of time as the people who physically got in line at the time you did, you just do your waiting outside of the queue. And you can only have ONE DAS entry set up at a time, which does prevent abuse.
     
  9. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the explanation! That makes much more sense—I was thinking about the mobility issues and how easy that would be to abuse the system by just getting a wheelchair. I love that we can leave and come back when it would be our time. I have been worried how standing in line the entire wait with him would go as he would most definitely cling to me and *only me* and if it takes too long and he is gets anxiety/sensory issues, he tends to take it out on me and scratches me pretty badly :( He started doing this behavior to himself recently too. He will also try to escape, so I think as much as I was trying to fight it, the stroller as a wheelchair is going to be a must do for him. I really appreciate everyone’s help here!
     
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  10. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Just to clarify — true, the ADA does not allow for proof of disability for equal access. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with HIPAA. Disney’s DAS program is based on needs and not diagnoses. No documentation necessary and it likely would not be read if presented.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     
  11. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    First, try posting this in the Disneyland (California) forum. I know you've been posting over there already in preparation for your trip. We have many parents in that forum who have lots of experience with very similar situations at DLR. They are the most up to date on how things are currently working at that resort. And they have great tips on things that work well for their kids in the parks.
    Next, when you arrive on your first day, go directly to either City Hall in DL or Chamber of Commerce in DCA to apply for a DAS. There may be a line outside both (longer in DL, a little shorter in DCA), but CMs will be screening all guests in the lines to find out who's just there for a birthday button or a map, etc. When you get to the front, the CM can only ask you two questions concerning the DAS: 1) What is the actual problem with waiting in lines? and 2) How do you think a DAS will help with this? Based on the answers to these questions, the CM will try to work with you on the best solution for your needs. The solution might be a DAS or there might be something that would work better. PP is correct that no medical paperwork is needed and would not be accepted if given. The CM is not asking for a diagnosis, and most CMs have no medical training or background, so keeping the communication clear and simple is your best bet. They really do want to help, so keeping the communication as clear as possible is good for both of you.
    DLR is really good about working with families with special needs! Ask away in the Disneyland (California) forum -- you'll get lots of good help there. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  12. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! I wasn’t sure if I should post there or here, so I will post over there! I appreciate all the help :)
     
  13. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

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    Mom of a child with sensory issues and diagnosed already with ASD. Get noise canceling headphones, they will be a blessing for shows, fireworks and pretty much anything loud or just too much for your child. My son is 11 and he nows use construction earplugs, but as a toddler those where a lifesaver.
     
  14. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    Yes, was going to suggest headphones. And dark sunglasses, too, even on rides. Some of the rides can have very bright lights.
     
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  15. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    Keep checking your posts here and over there -- knowledge is power, and the better prepared you are for your trip, the easier and more enjoyable your trip can be. :)
     
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  16. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    Great suggestions! We were planning on the headphones (we have toddler ones already from when we have went to drag races and Monster Jam, so we will start practicing having him wear those again.) I would have never thought about the sunglasses—that is a great idea!
     
  17. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    I have migraines, and when I get an aura in the parks, my sensory processing goes awry. Earplugs, headphones, sunglasses all help -- we've got them in the backpack ready to go. I use earplugs on all rides and sometimes just all day. It's DLR -- everyone's excited and loud! Restaurants are loud. Restrooms are really loud -- the toilets flushing? Loud!
    When my senses get weird, my sense of smell gets super sensitive. Your son might want a blanket or jacket (depending on the weather) from home that smells very familiar that he can put over his nose. I bring essential oils, like lavender -- it can really help.
     
  18. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    He loves blankets and our case worker highly recommended that we take a blanket with my scent on it to help with the trip in general, so that will definitely be on the list. I’m so grateful for this board and these suggestions!
     
  19. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    We have friends who sleep in the same t-shirt for a week, then bundle the shirt in a zipper bag to keep in the backpack for quick soothing. Soft, easy to hold, smells strongly of mom -- what more could you ask? Maybe you could sleep on his blanket for a few nights before packing it up?
     
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  20. javeyloveschelsi

    javeyloveschelsi Mouseketeer

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    I will do that! WHEN he does sleep (you can probably tell that is a major struggle we are working through), he has to be with me at this point for him to consider sleeping at all before 3 A.M., so that won’t be a problem at all getting cuddled up in the blanket with him.
     
  21. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    Just wanted to add that if you do get the DAS for him, he would have to be going on the ride, so look for height requirements and intensity of an attraction before you request the DAS :)
     
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