Special tips for helping hypersensitive kids
have a great Disney vacation
- Just say no to Commando/Turbo Touring. You need to keep it slow,
easy, repetitive, calm, gentle. If you can stay calm and in control of your
own emotions, it will help your kid feel safe and grounded.
- Many special needs kids love riding Disney Transportation. The
boats, trains, monorails and buses can be calming for some children. If
your child is overwhelmed by the rides and attractions, this may be an alternative
way to spend some time.
- Use a sturdy smooth-rolling stroller. One with sides and a cover
would be nice- the deep pressure and containment may help them feel safe.
If your child is larger, you might consider renting a wheelchair.
- Some children are hypersensitive to sounds. Reduce auditory input
as much as possible. Remember that many kids with autistic spectrum disorders
rely more often on their visual system for cues, so you shouldn’t depend
on having them listen to you – let them see you when you want to communicate
- When they are acting out, try to remember their reduced verbal
abilities and hypersensitivity to physical stimuli... at all costs, avoid
getting tense, uptight or punitive! That squirrelly behavior may be a sign
that there is a little blister that you can hardly see that is causing them
total overload, or a bit of a sunburn that most kids would brush off that
makes them totally miserable, or somebody else's tension and frustration
are causing them emotional distress.
- Many kids are overwhelmed at first. With proper support they do
learn to love it! But some people have one little disaster and then avoid
theme parks altogether from then on - big mistake! Imagine what it will be
like if all their friends go out to a fair one day when they are older,
but your kid can't go because she never learned how to cope with the sensory
input... a major social loss for kids with special needs if they can't go
on trips with their pals.
- Mental Preparation is very helpful! Trip planning videos, sing-along
videos that feature the parks, books about the parks, about the characters,
about circuses and fairs... and lots of trips to smaller parks closer to
home - short, repetitive, predictable trips loaded with fun - a great way
- Consider staying at one of the “Home-Away-From-Home” resorts that
includes a place to sit and relax, eat meals in a quiet environment.
- The kids’ clubs are very good with most kids, but you may want
to try in-room babysitting instead for a good, calm, restful experience for
your child while you have your much deserved night out. We have had very good luck with Fairy Godmothers Child Care Service
in Orlando -- their sitters have experience with special needs children
and they are very good. Their phone number is (407) 277-3724.
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Last revision June 3, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Teri Doolittle, PA, MHP
All rights reserved