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Old 04-07-2013, 11:07 PM   #1
bocaj1431
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Wink GAC card and unusual behaviors

I wanted to offer a 2 tips that I hope will not be taken the wrong way.

First, My son has Autism and due to sensory processing issues and difficulty dealing with long lines that are congested he is able to use the GAC pass and use a separate entrance. I have unfortunately had some people make rude comments when they see this. Not all special needs are visually apparent.

Secondly, one of the characteristic traits of autism are unusual behaviors. There are varying types. My son has gagging sounds he makes, repetitive movements, is overly excited and silly (especially for a 12 yr old) and is easily made anxious by what you or I might consider to be a trivial event. One of the most prominent situations which brings about anxiety is not knowing which way to walk when there are many people around him or people bump into him. When that happens he begins to chant "oh my gosh and whats wrong with me" over and over again, in a loud voice. What has shocked me, has been how cruel some people can be when observing such behaviors. People have laughed at him, made rude comments and stared at him to the point of it being so obvious. Of course you will stare initially but to continue to do so is rude. These reactions by others have hurt my son a great deal.

I just wanted to share this information; so that, if you observe odd behavior coming from someone in the parks, there often can be a medical reason behind it. Please think about this before you react. Most people do not react in a negative manner but for those who do I just think it is due to lack of knowledge.

Thank you!
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:26 AM   #2
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It's extremely sad that people act that way toward your child. Unfortunately the types of duche bags that act that way don't have the common sense to read these threads.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
PocahontasLookALike
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Just try to take in stride. That's what we do with our nephew who has autism.

he's a peculiar little 7yo but he's loved regardless. he has some 'ticks' and anxiety triggers (bees...omg. Complete melt down at the zoo. Now flies are kind of a trigger too. I knew that people were staring when he was literally going ballistic. But my sister knows exactly how to handle it. Even if his behavior has a tendency to draw attention). crowds and unpredictability also heighten his anxiety. The GAC and separate waiting areas are just he needs.

Before his diagnosis years ago, I'm sure we would have possibly raised an eyebrow at some child behavior. but now that its part of our lives, we are definitely more sensitive to it.

but there will always be people who don't 'get it'.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocahontasLookALike View Post

he's a peculiar little 7yo but he's loved regardless. he has some 'ticks' and anxiety triggers (bees...omg. Complete melt down at the zoo. Now flies are kind of a trigger too. I knew that people were staring when he was literally going ballistic. it'.
.
My son has the same fears of bugs. Especially the bees. Every spring he hibernates inside and it takes some really big incentives like the local water parks and pools to get him outside enjoying the summer. Amazingly, we did not see one flying bug our whole trip at disney world last year. That was a blessing. All we saw were lots of lizards, which we had never seen before, and he loved those!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bocaj1431 View Post
I wanted to offer a 2 tips that I hope will not be taken the wrong way.

First, My son has Autism and due to sensory processing issues and difficulty dealing with long lines that are congested he is able to use the GAC pass and use a separate entrance. I have unfortunately had some people make rude comments when they see this. Not all special needs are visually apparent.

Secondly, one of the characteristic traits of autism are unusual behaviors. There are varying types. My son has gagging sounds he makes, repetitive movements, is overly excited and silly (especially for a 12 yr old) and is easily made anxious by what you or I might consider to be a trivial event. One of the most prominent situations which brings about anxiety is not knowing which way to walk when there are many people around him or people bump into him. When that happens he begins to chant "oh my gosh and whats wrong with me" over and over again, in a loud voice. What has shocked me, has been how cruel some people can be when observing such behaviors. People have laughed at him, made rude comments and stared at him to the point of it being so obvious. Of course you will stare initially but to continue to do so is rude. These reactions by others have hurt my son a great deal.

I just wanted to share this information; so that, if you observe odd behavior coming from someone in the parks, there often can be a medical reason behind it. Please think about this before you react. Most people do not react in a negative manner but for those who do I just think it is due to lack of knowledge.

Thank you!
Go on using your GAC knowing that you are doing the right thing for your son! Ignore those other guests as they are clueless and don't deserve a second thought. Over time, your son will learn the same. Maybe some gentle coaching regarding how other people are rude may make him feel a bit better.

I have a son with Aspergers and I try not to let other people's prejudices ruin our vacation time. My son has had some wonderful interactions with cast members at ride entrances due to his GAC. There are people out there who care and understand and its not worth wasting time on those who don't.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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As someone studying Psychology (and also since my parents always made sure I was sensitive to others and knew that some people were different) we learn a lot about autistic children because (since I'm also studying social work) they know we will work with autistic children often. It makes me so sad to know that people laugh at your son. To the people who laugh blatantly--they are sad individuals and I hope they can better themselves. But honestly a lot of people probably just do not understand. I wish more people read DIS so they would know GAC is not Front of the line. It is just an option for people (like your son) to not have to deal with lines, etc. I'm glad your son can experience Disney World like any other guest and wish you many more happy vacations to come!!

And p.s. I have found that autistic children can be the sweetest kids you will ever meet! I love working with them and it brings tears to my eyes knowing they are mistreated in society! Glad he has an awesome parent like you!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:49 AM   #7
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Thank you to everyone for your encouraging words and insight! Very much appreciated!
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:36 PM   #8
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I can relate. My now 17 year old son has Aspergers. We have never used a GAC but if he had trouble with lines, I would have in an instant. Who cares what others think? You are being the best parent to your guy. We were in Disneyland late. My son was 9 and it was probably 9 pm. He had just had it. My sister and bil were there, so they took my other two kids while I dragged him out. We were near Space Mountain when he started his meltdown. Well he started screaming in his "demonic" voice, "I hate you!" to me as I am dragging him down the crowded path. To my amazement, the paths literally parted to avoid him. I was actually thankful at the moment that they were freaked out. Crowds set him off even more. So, that they gave us a wide path was actually a very good thing. He didn't stop until we passed through the exit turnstile. Then he was happy as could be. I was a bit embarrassed and I was sure people were thinking the worst of us, but I knew I was doing the right thing for my son and I would never see those people again.

And my son, for the most part, doesn't realize that anyone is laughing at him. I notice it and it bothers me, but I have learned that if I tell him not to let it bother him, he wasn't even aware and I was the one that made him aware and then he felt bad. So, if it doesn't bother him, I try not to let it bother me.

My son asked to go to WDW for his graduation. Even though the vacations were trying at times, they are some of his best memories. He doesn't remember other people from the trips at all. Except for the nice man that gave him a stuffed animal once while in line because Jacob was talking to him and said he liked it and it was his favorite. So many people will surprise you with their kindness.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:32 PM   #9
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Our son is 11 and I can totally relate! Hang in there and know that Disney can bring out some wonderful traits in our kids. I have even heard of no verbal kids speaking words while at Disney! Our son is quite verbal so many times that has turned a few heads-I have learned not to worry about what other people think about my son. Keep going to Disney if it makes your son happy. We go to Disney yearly as we know we are getting the most out of our money on a wonderful family vacation that our son adores. Our teenage daughter actually gets up early to go to the parks so we are all happy!
Elizabeth
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:32 PM   #10
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That sounds like it is really hard... I hate it when people stare. My daughter has cancer, and her bald head gets people staring at her. Laughing is just rude, and those people really should learn some manners....
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:22 PM   #11
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My brother is one of those people who stares when he sees odd behavior. However he's 47 and has Prader Willi syndrome. He stares because he's trying to rationalize why another person is acting "different" but he's not supposed to. like screaming to be heard when a conversation is happening that he isn't involved in. We remind him it's not polite to stare but when he's off, he can stare holes in to someone if he can't figure out what they are doing.

We joke that he doesn't like to be stared at, but its ok if he does the staring! :thumbsup

So not the normal situation, but I always feel bad when I see him staring at someone else with special needs. My family is hypersensitive and will actually look the other way to give special needs guests as much privacy as possible in a public place.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonMomToWDW View Post
Even though the vacations were trying at times, they are some of his best memories. He doesn't remember other people from the trips at all. Except for the nice man that gave him a stuffed animal once while in line because Jacob was talking to him and said he liked it and it was his favorite. So many people will surprise you with their kindness.
I love that story. You are right, there are some really amazing people, who are so kind to our kids. It means so much to them! My son loves disney too! He has also had some of the most amazing moments of pure joy at Disney world; and, that was due in part to some of the wonderful people working at the parks, restaurants and hotels. In fact we stayed at POR last year and there is a door greeter at the main entrance named Birdie and he was so good to my son.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kylmac View Post
Our son is 11 and I can totally relate! Hang in there and know that Disney can bring out some wonderful traits in our kids. I have even heard of no verbal kids speaking words while at Disney! Our son is quite verbal so many times that has turned a few heads-I have learned not to worry about what other people think about my son. Keep going to Disney if it makes your son happy. We go to Disney yearly as we know we are getting the most out of our money on a wonderful family vacation that our son adores. Our teenage daughter actually gets up early to go to the parks so we are all happy!
Elizabeth
Thanks for the support!
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessicalynne View Post
That sounds like it is really hard... I hate it when people stare. My daughter has cancer, and her bald head gets people staring at her. Laughing is just rude, and those people really should learn some manners....
That must be very difficult for your daughter. Thankfully there are so many wonderful things at Disney to bring joy to our kids! That is why I love disney world!! Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StitchesGr8Fan View Post
My brother is one of those people who stares when he sees odd behavior. However he's 47 and has Prader Willi syndrome. He stares because he's trying to rationalize why another person is acting "different" but he's not supposed to. like screaming to be heard when a conversation is happening that he isn't involved in. We remind him it's not polite to stare but when he's off, he can stare holes in to someone if he can't figure out what they are doing.

We joke that he doesn't like to be stared at, but its ok if he does the staring! :thumbsup

So not the normal situation, but I always feel bad when I see him staring at someone else with special needs. My family is hypersensitive and will actually look the other way to give special needs guests as much privacy as possible in a public place.
It must be tough at times for your son too. My son also does the why can he do that if I cant. He actually will go up to other kids and point out to them when they are doing something they shouldn't be doing. The funny thing is the things he points out to other kids are things he does all the time. I have to keep an eye out at all times to try and stop him from trying to parent other kids! All you can do is laugh at it all!
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