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Autism Awareness Archives - Special Mouse - Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs
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Posts Tagged 'Autism Awareness'

Teen with Autism Channels his Inner Walt Disney to Help Himself and Others – 068

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My featured guest is Max Miller, 13-year-old artist and author of Hello, My Name is Max and I Have Autism, and founder of the Blue Ribbon Arts Initiative.

Max wrote his first book, Hello, My Name is Max and I Have Autism as a way of sharing what autism was like through his perspective. Non-verbal until the age of six, Max struggled with language and used art to express himself. By the age of 10, he learned how to read and write. At 12, he published his first book as he wanted to make a difference for other children, especially for those who could not speak. His intention is to help create compassion, awareness and understanding for children affected by autism.

Max wanted to take his advocacy further and he created Blue Ribbon Arts Initiative. A portion of his royalties benefit his foundation. Max said, “Art saved him,” and he wants to share the gift of art with other children. He is doing so by providing low-income children with Autism Spectrum Disorder “Art Start Kits” to help them get started with their creations and by hosting an art show to celebrate the work of kids on the autism spectrum. You can email Max via his mom at insightintotheautisticmind@gmail.com.

Max, his mother and I discuss autism, art, his book and something that he shares in common with Walt Disney! His foundation’s first art show, “Youth Artists on the Spectrum: A Celebration of Neurodiversity,” which will run from April 2-25, 2015 on limited days and hours. Friday and Saturday from 1-4 and by appointment.  Call 40 West Arts 303-275-3430 or Blue Ribbon 720-999-6130 to set an appointment time.

Hello, My Name

Max’s book is available on Amazon

 

News:

Disney has announced they will roll out Allergy-Friendly Menus to around 120 restaurants. The menus will be available at both counter service and table service locations throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks and resorts and will include offerings at the Disney water parks and Downtown Disney restaurants as well.

You can read more about it on the Disney Food Blog.

Mousekeeping:

The Special Mouse Community will be having its first Disney Parks meet-up next month at Walt Disney World! We’re meeting at the Contemporary Resort’s Contempo Café on Friday, May 22 from 4 to 6 PM. Yes, this is the same day as the Disney Side 24-hour event at the Magic Kingdom! So, if you’ll be up before dawn to attend that event and you find yourself starting to drag just a little in the late afternoon, head on over to the Contemporary and hang out with us in the air-conditioning for a while. Hope to see you there!

Many thanks to all of you who have pledged to support the publication of Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide on Kickstarter! The campaign ends on May 7th.

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~ Kathy

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More Autism Awareness: Using Disney’s Stroller-as-a-Wheelchair Tag

 

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We continue our month-long celebration of autism awareness and Disney with a guest post from Melissa at the Autism Mommy Avenger Blog!

Riding Along at Disney

When it comes to taking vacations with a child with Autism, it can be a little stressful to think about how the kid will be with crowds, lines and long waits. This was definitely a worry of ours before we took our son to Disney last December. Billy has meltdowns when he is in large crowds, when not moving for a bit, and when he is over stimulated by something. We knew that we would have moments of waiting on a line, or fighting a big crowd when at Disney and were worried he may have a complete meltdown. When we are out somewhere at home, we have his stroller with us in stores. He is always calm when he sits in his own stroller. We made sure when we flew to FL to take his stroller since he was comfortable with it.

When we arrived to Disney we asked for the DAS card for our son, and also asked for the sticker for our stroller. This sticker allows you to use your stroller as a wheelchair. So, my son would be able to just stay in the stroller on lines when we would have a bit of a wait, or when there were a lot of people around…

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To read more, please visit Mommy Adventure Blog

Thank you, Melissa!

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The Autism Awareness Month Blog Celebration is brought to you by Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide on Kickstarter. Please support the publication of this book, today! (Ends 5/7/15)

Thanks,

Kathy 

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Celebrating Autism Awareness with Jackie Psarianos from The Autistic World of Disney

Our celebration of Autism Awareness Month and Disney continues with this Guest Post from Jackie Psarianos:

Andrew P.

My son is primarily non-verbal. It is difficult engaging him in any conversation. He does not like to be touched or hugged.

Andrew is fifteen with a developmental age of three. He loves the movie Toy Story and the Disney characters Buzz Lightyear and Woody. It is for that reason we love Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ attraction ‘Toy Story Mania’.

Every time we vacation at any of the Disney Parks we see great social and developmental improvements. Andrew comes into his own and into our world many times during those vacations. That is what keeps us coming back time and time again, coupled with Cast Members anticipating our needs, makes for a positive and memorable experience.

One visit to Toy Story Mania stands out in my mind, Andrew was thirteen at the time and up until then I had never heard any terms of endearment or had any hugs from him.

We were in the attraction vehicle and Andrew’s aim at the targets was incredible, he was pointing and shooting at all the dishes on one screen, breaking them one after the other and becoming increasingly engaged by the minute. His excitement and enthusiasm kept my attention as I had not seen anything like this ever! My mind was reeling because of this joint attention, his hand eye coordination and best of all, his more than appropriate responses to his achievements.

Andrew that day scored 89,000 points, a personal best! I couldn’t wait to get out and tell my husband about all of this.

What a huge stride Andrew took that day, it was massive and I was so excited.

Upon exiting the attraction, Andrew turned to me and said, “Mummy, give me a kiss!”

I was floored! Not only did I give him a kiss, but I got a great big hug out of him for the first time in his thirteen years. For the very first time!

Imagine my delight. It’s a moment I will never ever forget and will hold close to my heart always.

Andrew came back to us if even for a few minutes.

I am so grateful for that special, special moment.

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Thank you for sharing, Jackie!

This blog series is brought to you by Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide on Kickstarter.

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Please support the publication of this book!

Thanks,

Kathy

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Autism Awareness Month Continues with Guest Tricia Ballad – 067

autism-awareness

We continue our month-long celebration of Autism Awareness with today’s feature. I’m chatting with Tricia Ballad, a published fiction author, Disney fan and Autism Mom. We’re talking about her family’s recent trip to Walt Disney World and she introduces me to a workshop she’s created for parents of children recently diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and other Autism-related diagnoses.

The Autism Parents’ Starter Kit includes a series of video discussions on parenting a child with autism, printable resources, and an interactive discussion area where parents can ask questions and connect with other parents. It will be available April 15 on Udemy.com.

Tricia has generously offered a 50% discount to the Autism Parents’ Starter Kit for Special Mouse listeners! You can access it HERE.

Mousekeeping:

The Special Mouse Community will be having its first Disney Parks meet-up next month at Walt Disney World! We’re meeting at the Contemporary Resort’s Contempo Café on Friday, May 22 from 4 to 6 PM. Yes, this is the same day as the Disney Side 24-hour event at the Magic Kingdom! So, if you’ll be up before dawn to attend that event and you find yourself starting to drag just a little in the late afternoon, head on over to the Contemporary and hang out with us in the air-conditioning for a while. I would love to meet you in real life!

Second,

Thanks to all of you who have supported the Kickstarter crowdfunding project I’m running, with either a pledge or a share on social media or in many cases, both. This project is to help publish my upcoming book, Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide! A book which, by the way, I am really surprised hasn’t been written by anyone yet, considering that there are soooo many families with kids on the Autism Spectrum that love WDW or are anxious about visiting WDW — or both!

Twitter Post

You know, I never really talk about it here on the show, but it does cost a bit of money to produce and deliver a podcast like this one – which I love doing and will always provide to listeners free of charge – but, it doesn’t leave me with a lot of extra money lying around to pay for the expenses involved in self-publishing a book!  There’s stuff like professional editing, and the cover art (which, by the way, was created by the very talented Mr. Danny Lawless from the Magic Our Way podcast – shout out to Danny!) and the book will need to be formatted for print and indexed, etc. So, it actually costs several thousand dollars to do this thing!

The wonderful thing about pledging to help with Kickstarter is that instead of just sending me, Kathy Kelly, a check for 10 or 20 or 50 dollars, you will earn some pretty cool rewards for backing the book!

There’s everything from Safety ID Stickers for Kids, created by an autism mom, to sensory-friendly kids costumes from Mom Approved Costumes, to exclusive sneak-peek chapters of the book that I’ll send to your inbox, to personal autism theme park coaching with me via Skype… there are just too many goodies to mention here.

And, of course, you can pre-order a copy of the book itself, which is the main “reward.”

So please, I urge you to visit Kickstarter.com and make a pledge to Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide today. The campaign will end May 7th and here’s the big thing – for those of you who aren’t familiar with Kickstarter.

If I do not raise the full amount that I’m seeking, the campaign fails and I get nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. No one’s credit card gets charged and, frankly, it’s going to take a whole lot longer for me to get the book published and into your hands. If the Kickstarter is a success, you should be able to get it by November/December of this year.

I’ve also created a Facebook page for the book called, naturally, Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide.

Which, by the way, a lot of people have told me that it’s been much easier for them to log into Kickstarter.com for the first time using their Facebook account, especially if they are using a mobile device – so there’s a tip for you.

Thank you so, so very much!

Tip of the Week:

If you’re staying at a Disney Resort Hotel you can order waterproof mattress covers for your hotel bed. When you travel with someone, adult or child, who has issues with urinary incontinence or nighttime bed-wetting, it can be a great source of stress.

For many years my son with autism wet his bed at lease 3-4 times per week and even if he was wearing pull-ups they would often leak. I was always worried about this happening when we were staying at a hotel.

Instead of trying to pack a waterproof bed pad in your luggage, you can order one ahead of time. Definitely mention this to your Disney Travel Agent or, if you’re making your own travel arrangements, contact Walt Disney Resort Special Reservations at 407-939-7807, or  Disneyland Resort Special Reservations at 714-520-5045.

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

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Special Mouse Celebrates Autism Awareness with: Michelle Young from The Disney Dream Girls

Happy April! Happy Autism Awareness Month!

I’ve gathered some of my Disney-loving friends to share guest posts about Autism Awareness and Disney, which I’ll be sharing throughout the month of April.

Enjoy!

This post was submitted by Michelle Young, co-host of The Disney Dream Girls podcast.

Autism Awareness

When my son, Ciarán, was diagnosed (officially), it was a kind of relief to have a label to describe his issues and in turn this then enabled him to get the support he needed.

Many people make the assumption that because he has this label he is in a special school or he has a special talent, like Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Raymond in Rain Man. This is miles away from the truth. He is in mainstream school; he is in the top 10% of his class – bright but not overtly gifted. His difficulties are mainly with interaction with others, having unusual reactions to noises, crowds, pain and food amongst others. One trait he does have is obsessions! As a baby, it was Thomas the Tank Engine, now it is Doctor Who.

He is now aged 15, and his school has harnessed his drawing talents to create a poster for autism awareness across the school, which I would like to share with you.

 

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Ciarán has inherited my Disney obsession, despite living in the UK; together we have been fortunate to visit both US Disney parks. Thanks to the accommodations we were able to arrange, he was able to access everything and despite the occasional meltdown, we had an amazing time.

I would like to thank Kathy for giving me the opportunity to support Autism Awareness. When I’m not enthusing about Disney, I can be found on my podcast, The Disney Dream Girls where we enthuse about the food, attractions and fun to be had in the Disney theme parks.

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Thank you, Michelle! You can listen to a recent podcast episode with Michelle and Ciaran here > Disneyland Trip Report with Aspergers and ADHD

This blog series is brought to you by Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide on Kickstarter.

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Please support the publication of this book!

Kathy

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