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Old 06-29-2014, 08:39 PM   #1
MaggiesMomNJ
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Ptsd

Hi! Anyone have any experience traveling to Disney with PTSD?

I have panic attacks and am sensitive to loud noises. During the last trip I did not ask for any accommodations at all. I was more focused on my husband who is blind.

Suggestions?
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:21 PM   #2
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I am not really sure what kind of accommodations they could offer. My DS suffers from PTSD, and he has never been able to go to fireworks because of the sound, so you may want to be aware of those. Another thing that bothers him is trash in the walkways (afraid its a hidden bomb) but he is getting better about that one.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:22 PM   #3
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What kinds of things are you looking for help with?

There isn't anything they'll be able to do for loud noises. Those are everywhere and difficult to plan for.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:57 PM   #4
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The guide for guests with disabilities has a list of all the attractions and they make note of which ones have loud noises but that will only help with rides and not things like fireworks, parades or shows.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:03 PM   #5
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My son is labeled with ptsd symptoms (he is non verbal so can't be fully labeled.) I was going to say he'd never had an incident at the parks, then I just remember that isn't true. He did have a panic attack attack during an incident with a cm.... but it wasn't a fullblown ptsd incident.

I'm not sure what accommodations Disney could offer that would address a ptsd incident. For my son the best we can do is just hold on until he comes back from where he's gone then reassure him. I was going to say that maybe the quiet areas of the park would help to decompress, in all honesty, while we could ride out a siezure (assuming it stops) or meltdown....a full blown ptsd incident we'd run for the exit and not come back. They freak me out big time.

I guess it kind of depends on how ptsd manifests for you. Since loud noises are triggers for you, maybe some of the attraction information for Sensory integration disorder kids would help and being sure to find out exactly what time shows are starting to avoid them.

The only other suggestion I have may not apply due to age..... but if there were any of my sons triggers in the parks, Id want to get to a controlled environment as quickly as possible... id make sure I parked where I could get him out quickly.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:14 PM   #6
MaggiesMomNJ
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My issues are with sensory overload..for example, I flew since being diagnosed and nearly passed out because the plane seemed so loud. Before, I loved to fly. I can manage at parades and things, they just seem louder than before. I know I am not as comfortable in lines as before.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:21 PM   #7
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It seems like a simple fix would be to get some good earplugs or hearing protection headphones.

What does your therapist/physician suggest?
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
It seems like a simple fix would be to get some good earplugs or hearing protection headphones.

What does your therapist/physician suggest?
Nothing yet because I recently switched...other people have suggested ear plugs though. The last time I went I didn't get much of any suggestions!
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:37 PM   #9
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I like Hearos brand earplugs (the 33 decibel ones).
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:29 PM   #10
MaggiesMomNJ
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
I like Hearos brand earplugs (the 33 decibel ones).
Thanks I will look them up..I've never used ear plugs.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggiesMomNJ View Post
Nothing yet because I recently switched...other people have suggested ear plugs though. The last time I went I didn't get much of any suggestions!
Well suggestions and accommodations are 2 different things. There's not much by way of accommodations, its up to you to know your stimuli and avoid it. Suggestions of where you might find said stimuli is another story.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:06 AM   #12
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I'm not sure what accommodation Disney can provide as the park is designed to overload your senses. Ear plugs could help. If you needed a place to rest or get away first aid could provide you with a place to lay down. Sue or someone else put together a list of quietish places to go. Maybe they can link that. Planning your day to avoid parades, certain shows (and the crowd that come with them) is a good idea
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:34 AM   #13
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WDW actually put out this guide, page 36 lists some quieter places to take a break. As already mentioned, each park also has a First Aid location where you can go to lie down on a cot/bed if needed.

https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/med..._guide_rev.pdf

I agree with others that knowing your triggers and finding ways to avoid those triggers is your best option. The disABILITIES FAQ sticky might help some with details about specific rides that have sudden loud noises -- there's also several pages of details about attractions in the guide I linked above. The earplugs or headphones could help a lot.

You mention not being comfortable in lines. Would it help for your party to create a bit of a buffer in front and behind? That would give you a little extra space.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:32 PM   #14
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Another echo of knowing your triggers and finding ways to avoid them. If loud noises are problematic, invest in some custom fitted ear plugs. I got mine from an audiologist and they were a cheap fix for many loud situations.

Mine were $160 for soft sleepers, but I could have had hard industrial ones, vented to hear speech, for the same price.

My PTSD/CIS has completely different triggers, but avoidance is key, as is knowing what provides relief from symptoms. For me, that means finding an immersive activity that shuts off my brain, like a very intense workout with a personal trainer - not exactly a release I can use on vacation, so I will need to find another way to 'reset' on holiday.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:10 AM   #15
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DH and I both deal with sensory overload. GENERALLY I do ok in the parks, but there are a few attractions that I can't deal with due to the sensory stimulation.

1- It's Tough To Be A Bug.
2- Captain EO.
3- Space Mountain
4- Mission Space (more claustrophobia than sensory, but it's all tied together)
5- Dinosaur is iffy... I do better on it than DH does

During parades in the MK, DH and I will walk through the stores/restaurants along Main Street to get out of the crowd and noise. That is overstimulating for both of us.

I also bring low profile musicians earplugs to filter out much of the noise, and I also wear sunglasses and a hat. It gives me the illusion that I have my own space, sort of like horse blinders.

Some attractions that I do REALLY well on are:

1- Spaceship Earth
2- Soarin
3- Living with the Land
4- Tomorrowland Transit Authority
5- Tower of Terror (believe it or not! It's one of my favorites )
6- EPCOT country movies - France, China, Canada

There are a couple of tucked-away nooks that I like to "escape" to (besides my hotel room, of course)

1- Morocco Pavilion, when you enter, it's to the left. Smaller nook with a water fountain, covered, and away from the crowds.
2- Animal Kingdom- there are a few small huts not too far from each of the QS restaurants that have 2-3 chairs, and sometimes a table. No one knows they're there, and they're a great get-away. Check out WDWPRINCE's YouTube channel, his 2013 trip. He shows a lot of these spots.
3- MK Liberty Square, there are 2 rocking chairs toward the right side of the Hall of Presidents, tucked up and out of the way.
4- Rose Garden near Cinderella Castle
5- As soon as you exit Tower of Terror (after goign through the gift shop), there's an overhang that's a nice spot to rest.

I also like to visit the nearby hotel lobbies. They're always cool, and during the day, generally not very crowded. If you're at the MK, pop over to he Contemporary and go to the Convention floor. If there's not a convention going on, this floor is generally deserted, and they have really nice (empty) bathrooms, too. I also like the Wilderness Lodge lobby. Go up a few floors via the stairs near Whispering Canyon. There are some couches/chairs that overlook the lobby that are nice to sit in. We ate a packed lunch up there once, it was great! Also, the Grand Flo lobby often has a band or pianist playing music, and is a great place to relax.

Know your limits. I generally do very well IN the parks, on rides, etc. I know what rides to avoid, and take my time. Earplugs are your friend. Make a list of what attractions you want to try, and YouTube some that you're not as familiar with to see how sensory they are.
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