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Old 12-28-2009, 10:25 AM   #16
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C'mon Sean...you can do it!

Our plans had to take a turn because it was getting later than we thought, and we decided to just go to Epcot and save MK for another day.

We ALWAYS do MK first on our trips with Sean.

We ALWAYS do Crystal Palace on our first day with Sean.

Well, that wasn't happening today. And I guess we were getting over-confident because things were going so well. So we just skipped that part of our day. But...for Sean, that meant we were deviating from our plan. Our plan that was in writing. In a book. That he knew by heart. The book that helped him to feel safe, and secure in a world of unexpected and unwanted surprises. Uh-Oh!

We got to Epcot, and went to buy Sean his ticket (DH & I have DVC APs, and I had gotten tickets online before leaving for T&T, just in case Sean wasn't going to come). And he started to get upset. So we purchased a 3 day pass for him, knowing we could add-on as we went. But Sean was NOT going into the park. He was just not ready. Because this was not the plan.

Oh boy. Are we stupid, or what? So Pods stayed outside of the EPCOT entrance with Sean, and the rest of us went into the park. UGH. The single rider line for TT was only 5 minutes, so we went for that. And with our matching tie-dyes (that I had made at the HHI DVC), I guess it was easy to see we were a set, so guess what? They put us all together anyway!





We love that ride! And we were so bummed Sean wasn't with us, because it is one of HIS favorites, too. Oh well, hopefully we would have plenty of rides later... Anyway, we were deciding what to do next, and I called Pods to see how it was going....guess what? They were IN EPCOT!! He had promised Sean popcorn, so that's what they were looking for when we found them. Ahhh...what a relief! Here's a cautious Sean, FINALLY in the park-



We made our way back to the front to hit Guest Services for our GAC. Then we found a photographer to take our family's photo to commemorate this very special occasion!



We stopped for a minute to look at the fountains-



Before heading back to TT for our first of what we assumed would be many, many TT rides.



Well, you know what they say about when you A$$-u-me something. A few minutes into the wait, it was announced that TT was having technical difficulties, and we should come back later. Uh-oh....this is the perfect situation for a melt down....but...Sean was fine. He just turned around and walked out like this was something that happens every day. We were shocked- and sooooooooooo relieved!! We headed over to Mission Space, which he didn't want to ride, so he waited with Dad while the others of us rode.



We went over to the Living Seas to ride Nemo, but 2 minutes into the building, Sean didn't want to go in, so he stayed outside with Dad.





A quick look at the manatees and we were back outside-



To head over to Soarin', where it was pods' turn to ride with the boys. Sean and I went looking for some space for him to burn off some energy, and found a little spot over by Imagination where he could run around-

First, he sat quietly and played with the calculator on my phone.


Then, he ran around like aspeed demon, which he usually does.


I guess this might sound like a "bust", being that he was saying no to so many attractions. But it is actually the opposite of a "bust", this was all a huge success. Because look at him- he was somewhere other than our house or his school, and he was happy. So, SO happy!





Life...is good.

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Old 12-28-2009, 10:34 AM   #17
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:40 AM   #18
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Just wanted to say how great it is that Sean was along for the trip. I'm in too & ready for another post...
Hi Lori!! Thanks so much for sharing our happiness! Thanks for reading!
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:14 PM   #19
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I LOVE those pictures of Sean smiling! Makes me want to cry! SO sweet! And I LOVE the family photo of ALL of you in front of Spaceship Earth. I imagine it is really hard having to constantly be worried about how he is going to react, but I imagine it's just as difficult when he's not there...like your family isn't complete. All the worrying and meltdowns must be worth it for the moments you had with Sean this day in Epcot!

Just out of curiousity, how do the younger boys handle it all? I'm sure it must be frustrating for them at times, to have to wait around or plan your next move around him. I am glad that you and the boys went into Epcot when Sean wouldn't. As much as I'm sure they'd understand, it wouldn't be fair to them to leave and THANK GOD it worked out and Sean went in after all! Seems like you and Pods are a great team!
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:04 PM   #20
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Wooo-hoo, another Ellen TR!! I just made my way here, and I am so enjoying it already! I am soooo very happy that you guys were able to get Sean to come along on this trip--I can only imagine how much this meant to you. You guys are wonderful parents...seeing what you go through just to coach him out of his fears is truly amazing. I can't wait to read more!!
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:13 PM   #21
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Beautiful family photo at Epcot! Sean looks so happy to be at WDW!
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:46 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by podsnel View Post
Joan! How was Christmas? I haven't talked to you in two whole days, I'm going through withdrawals!! Did Peter like his keggerator? Pods says his works just fine- at least it did all Christmas day! I think I see some Pilsner glasses in his future...
I love the idea of a keggerator. Tim loves his beer too. One of our upcoming summer trips involves are visit to a small brewery in New Ulm, MN.(very german) I would say if you are going to invest in beer glasses consider buying the ones that Sam Adams makes. Tim swears by them. Something about the shape of the glass and the etching on the bottom helps create a unique beer drinking experience. For me that would have been college--but that's another story...

yes the concept of social stories are working. I thank you very much for that. I was sooo pleased to see Sean's smiling face. It is truly amazing how they can totally be banking on one thing and then go with the flow out of nowhere. Glad it all worked out.

BTW I never would have thought to put corn and chicken on a pizza.
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Old 12-28-2009, 04:03 PM   #23
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I LOVE those pictures of Sean smiling! Makes me want to cry! SO sweet! And I LOVE the family photo of ALL of you in front of Spaceship Earth. I imagine it is really hard having to constantly be worried about how he is going to react, but I imagine it's just as difficult when he's not there...like your family isn't complete. All the worrying and meltdowns must be worth it for the moments you had with Sean this day in Epcot!

Just out of curiousity, how do the younger boys handle it all? I'm sure it must be frustrating for them at times, to have to wait around or plan your next move around him. I am glad that you and the boys went into Epcot when Sean wouldn't. As much as I'm sure they'd understand, it wouldn't be fair to them to leave and THANK GOD it worked out and Sean went in after all! Seems like you and Pods are a great team!
hey Nikki! It IS like our family isn't complete when Sean isn't there. But there are a lot of things that he just wouldn't want to do, or that would be impossible for him to do, and we don't ever want the other 2 to miss out because of him and his needs. So we constantly try to find a happy balance. Our boys handle having an autistic brother really well, I think. What you described is very accurate, it can be frustrating for them at times. But, fortunately, they are both able to empathize with him, and they both are protective of him and in general want him to be happy. It probably makes a BIG difference that they are younger- he has been there always for them. And they are really, really good kids. They aren't without issues- don't get me wrong, but they are really, really kind and thoughtful where Sean is concerned. When we were on this vacation (or even when we were getting ready for this by staying in hotels) they knew Sean's needs came first, and that THAT was what was most important. They speak to him gently and calmly when he is upset, they try to find things to make him happy if he is sad. They also know that we go on vacations WITHOUT Sean, and that this is their time to be most important- and how lucky we all are to have the luxury of that break.

We are all very blessed.

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Wooo-hoo, another Ellen TR!! I just made my way here, and I am so enjoying it already! I am soooo very happy that you guys were able to get Sean to come along on this trip--I can only imagine how much this meant to you. You guys are wonderful parents...seeing what you go through just to coach him out of his fears is truly amazing. I can't wait to read more!!
Awww...thanks! And I'm so happy you've joined in again!! And thanks for sharing our joy over Sean. I'll post the next installmaent when I figure out how to hook upthe scanner I got for Christmas- I have some old pics I want to include in the next post.

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Beautiful family photo at Epcot! Sean looks so happy to be at WDW!
Thanks! We actually used a photopass version for our Christmas card this year because it all meant soooooo much. When I made those shirts in HHI a year and a half ago, I started out making 4- for our cruise, that Sean wouldn't be coming on. I ended up smacking myself in my head as soon as I was done, because I hoped that SOMEDAY he would travel with us again (when we were in HHI that time, it was when he wouldn't go to sleep away camp, it was VERY traumatic, and we were just feeling kind of low at that point). The HHI CMs graciously let me make another shirt, and so the fact that it was made with hope, when we really had none, but that the hope became a reality that day...well, it was just very meaningful.
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Old 12-28-2009, 06:50 PM   #24
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Oh Ellen -

Your last two updates were stellar and your comments about the trip being such a success for Sean just gets me choked up. He does look so seriously happy. And I love that group photo of you guys in your beautiful tied dyed shirts. That is one awesome pics. One to have framed and display proudly.

Your pics are Kidani make me wish I was there right now. I loved that place! I can't wait to read what happens next!
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:42 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by podsnel View Post
Anyway, we were deciding what to do next, and I called Pods to see how it was going....guess what? They were IN EPCOT!!
Quote:
A few minutes into the wait, it was announced that TT was having technical difficulties, and we should come back later. Uh-oh....this is the perfect situation for a melt down....but...Sean was fine.
Quote:
I guess this might sound like a "bust", being that he was saying no to so many attractions. But it is actually the opposite of a "bust", this was all a huge success. Because look at him- he was somewhere other than our house or his school, and he was happy. So, SO happy!
Woo hoo! You must have been bursting with excitement about how well Sean was adapting to your schedule changes!
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:18 PM   #26
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You all are wonder with Sean. I am a mom of a 19yr autistic son so I truly understand how hard it can be when they decide they won't do something or when meltdowns occur. When my son was younger the only way to get him to do something so different was long term preparation and following the plan we gave him. I am so happy that Sean was able to adapt to the changes and you were all able to enjoy your day. You have a beautiful family.

I have enjoyed reading all of your trip reports and have really been looking forward to this one. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences in such detail with us all!
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:08 PM   #27
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Hi I just read your and Pods trip report for the Food and Wine Festival. It was fun hearing about all the different rides, restaurants, and golf! I remember a TR you did a long time ago, and I think Sean stayed at home, while you took your younger sons. I'm so glad to hear he got on the plane, got checked in the the resort, had lunch, etc.

I know I'm drawing out all the steps, but our younger dd is 4 and has ASD. Sometimes I feel like our lives are divided into these tiny little milestones, like going to McDonald's for lunch, and not having a meltdown. Our last trip to Orlando was less than magical, so I'm trying to look for good ideas to make the trip this summer go better.

I love that you guys did lots of practice stays at local hotels back home. And that you made him a picture book. Please keep sharing the ideas that worked!!
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:57 PM   #28
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I love the idea of a keggerator. Tim loves his beer too. One of our upcoming summer trips involves are visit to a small brewery in New Ulm, MN.(very german) I would say if you are going to invest in beer glasses consider buying the ones that Sam Adams makes. Tim swears by them. Something about the shape of the glass and the etching on the bottom helps create a unique beer drinking experience. For me that would have been college--but that's another story...

yes the concept of social stories are working. I thank you very much for that. I was sooo pleased to see Sean's smiling face. It is truly amazing how they can totally be banking on one thing and then go with the flow out of nowhere. Glad it all worked out.

BTW I never would have thought to put corn and chicken on a pizza.
Hi Laura! Thanks for the beer glass advice- I'll have to make sure I get them in time for Valentine's Day. Soooo...you had a unique drinking experience in college, HMMMMMMMM???? Would love to hear all about THAT sometime!

Glad the social stories are working! And I was happy to see Sean smiling, too, thanks.

FWIW, corn on pizza is pretty good!

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Oh Ellen -

Your last two updates were stellar and your comments about the trip being such a success for Sean just gets me choked up. He does look so seriously happy. And I love that group photo of you guys in your beautiful tied dyed shirts. That is one awesome pics. One to have framed and display proudly.

Your pics are Kidani make me wish I was there right now. I loved that place! I can't wait to read what happens next!
Hi Mary Ellen!! Sorry for making you cry! It was a very good trip, though. I'm going to post our Christmas card in a minute with the Photopass version of the tshirt pic.

And we LOVED Kidani, too! It was so peaceful and relaxing, we hated to leave.

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Woo hoo! You must have been bursting with excitement about how well Sean was adapting to your schedule changes!
Yes! Absolutely BURSTING!!

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You all are wonder with Sean. I am a mom of a 19yr autistic son so I truly understand how hard it can be when they decide they won't do something or when meltdowns occur. When my son was younger the only way to get him to do something so different was long term preparation and following the plan we gave him. I am so happy that Sean was able to adapt to the changes and you were all able to enjoy your day. You have a beautiful family.

I have enjoyed reading all of your trip reports and have really been looking forward to this one. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences in such detail with us all!
Hi Sweetspot- nice to meet you! You're right, you do truly understand what I'm talking about! I think the long term prep is key to getting Sean (and so many others) to step beyond their comfort zone. Is your son much better with transitions now that he's older? I'd love to hear about whatever helps him, too.

Thank-you for taking the time to say hello!!

Quote:
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Hi I just read your and Pods trip report for the Food and Wine Festival. It was fun hearing about all the different rides, restaurants, and golf! I remember a TR you did a long time ago, and I think Sean stayed at home, while you took your younger sons. I'm so glad to hear he got on the plane, got checked in the the resort, had lunch, etc.

I know I'm drawing out all the steps, but our younger dd is 4 and has ASD. Sometimes I feel like our lives are divided into these tiny little milestones, like going to McDonald's for lunch, and not having a meltdown. Our last trip to Orlando was less than magical, so I'm trying to look for good ideas to make the trip this summer go better.

I love that you guys did lots of practice stays at local hotels back home. And that you made him a picture book. Please keep sharing the ideas that worked!!
Hi Kristen! I have written a bunch of TRs on here since I signed on 2 years ago, and this is the first one where Sean is one of the "characters". I'm happy you've liked them! Thanks for sharing our happiness over his "steps". I will try to think of all the things that made it better for him this time. As well as those that did not. You're right to celebrate all those tiny little milestones in your DD's life, they mean an awful lot!
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:07 PM   #29
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Happy New Year Everyone!

So, since so many people have commented on the tshirts, I thought I'd give a little backround and show our Christmas card this year (that was with the Photopass photo). I also posted this info in a response to someone else in the thread, so if you've already read this and I'm boring you I apologize!

When we went to HHI 2 summers ago, Sean was not in a good place. That week he was supposed to go to sleepaway camp (that he had been to before, and loved) while we drove down to the Disney resort in HHI to meet family for 5 days. Well, Sean wouldn't get out of the van. And no cajoling, pleading or begging could change his mind. He was staying in the car, he wanted to go home. It was really, really horrible. A definite lowpoint in our autism adventure with Sean. Anyway, Sheree & Henry came at a moment's notice to stay with Sean (God Bless them, if I haven't said that enough) and the rest of us were on our way. Sad, disillusioned and frustrated, but on our way.

That week I made 4 Mickey Tie-Dyes for us to wear on the Disney Cruise we were taking in November (without Sean). As SOON as I finished, I realized I should have made one for Sean, too, even if he wasn't going on the cruise. DOH! After all, I did hope that SOMEDAY we would be able to get him to go to WDW with us again. Even if right at that point, none of us were too hopeful it would ever happen again. Well, of course the Cms let me make another one....

So, that we are all wearing the tshirts together, in WDW, and the tshirts were made with only a glimmer of hope, and the hope became reality that day- well, it really was just very, very meaningful. Happy New Year, everyone-



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Old 12-31-2009, 08:21 PM   #30
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Loving your tr. That is SO wonderful that Sean had so many successes this trip.

My granddaughter has autism (along with a million other things) and I think her difficuties have taught me a new appreciation for the "little things" that we so called 'normal' people take for granted. You're doing a great job!
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