Sunday, Apr. 26, 2009

Theme Parks

Tip: Disney World and many theme parks have special passes or wristbands for families whose children have disabilities, including autism. The passes allow your family entrance at the front of every entry gate, bypassing long lines, which are a huge source of distress. Call in advance and ask for special-guest relations. Trisha Kayden, who recently took her 9-year-old daughter to Disney World, says, "Getting to go first on everything is the only perk to autism!"

"For a young child, a very family-friendly theme park can be an excellent choice," says Dr. Sandra Harris, executive director of Rutgers University's Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center. "You can stay in one hotel for the whole trip. They are often very accommodating to families of children who have a disability and tend to be forgiving of tantrums, anxiety and other behaviors that many young children display." As for loud theme park noises (sensory issues are common to kids with autism), take earplugs or headphones to mute the sound or visit during off-peak weeks, when crowds are smaller.

Read "Inside the Autistic Mind."

See nine kid foods to avoid.