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Disney Archives - Special Mouse - Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs
Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs

Special Mouse Podcast

Posts Tagged 'Disney'

Autism and the Disney Factor

Continuing with our Guest Post Series for Autism Awareness Month, here is the lovely Didi Marie from DisTherapy:

disney autism goofy muscles

 

Disney themes are many and universally appealing.  Mickey Mouse has entertained for 87 years with a pure, simple and honest heart.  Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Cinderella, Snow White have often been described as “maidens pure of heart.”  And who would break Sleeping Beauty’s spell?  A man of pure heart who would fall in love with her.  The autism community has for years told anecdotal stories of the allure and sometimes transformative nature of Disney movies and the Disney Parks.  For my son, it was the trips to these parks that first sparked language, attention and curiosity.  Early on, I had many the spirited conversations with the faculty and administrators at his special education center-based program; they feared that removing him from the structure and predictability of his services would be a dangerous loss of valuable time.  However, by the time he entered Kindergarten, they all but included our twice yearly Disney trips into his IEP!  His leaps ahead in attaining milestones were that remarkable and undeniable.  In my 20 years affiliation with autism schools, I have heard similar tales over and over again. What is it about the Disney magic that calls to these children and adults so uniquely??

 

 


Intellectually, one would think that Walt Disney World would cause complete sensory overload for an autism spectrum individual; the action is constant, the shows and fireworks are LOUD, the many park aromas greet Guests at Main Street, U.S.A., and can often be quite hot, humid and crowded.  How, then, do so many of these children and young adults overcome these obvious obstacles and come to be drawn in?

 

We have recently read of the Disney movie affinities of  New York Times Magazine journalist Ron Suskind’s son.  But the deep, almost magical connections with Disney Characters is something very familiar to the autism community.  Dare I say, Disney “breakthroughs” are far more common than have been documented.

I have my own take.  In the almost three decades that I worked as a physical therapist with both the autism and Downs communities, I have many, many times said that I have seen the face of God.  I will include my own son in that grouping; youngsters who are simple, honest and pure of heart and without the trappings of envy, competition, bullying or any other of the seven deadly sins.  My guess is that that the innocence and goodness that is at the soul of the Disney brand is what attracts these individuals the most.  Perhaps the fantasy and fable that is so exaggerated by Disney Characters is a non-threatening safe haven for them.  The storytelling that Walt Disney is most famous for is more powerful than we thought.  There’s magic in that “whole new world.”  And that trumps any Disney commercial I’ve ever seen…

Didi Marie

DIStherapy

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Thank you, Didi! (My, your sons have done a bit of growing since these photos were taken!)

 This Guest Blogger series for Autism Awareness Month is brought to you by my upcoming book, Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide. I would be most grateful if you would visit my project page on Kickstarter to learn more about the book and how you can pre-order your copy. Thanks!

Kathy

Kick-Image-B

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Autism Means Friendship with Tommy Des Brisay! 031

Elite Paralympic Athlete and YouTube sensation, Tommy Des Brisay (and his mom) join Kathy to kick off Autism Awareness Month on the Special Mouse podcast. We discuss Tommy’s autism and his lifelong love of Disney, his service dog, Adele, and his Disney’s Frozen meet ‘n greet video that got over one million views on YouTube!

Tommy with Anna and Elsa

Tommy with Anna and Elsa

Tommy is an accomplished athlete with Autism from Ottawa, Canada. He has an Autism Assistance Dog guide, Adel. He trains with the Ottawa Lions. Tommy’s Personal Bests are: 1500m 4:23 3000m 9:21 5k- 16:32 10k- 33:54 Half Marathon 1:14:56. A T-20 (Intellectual Disability) Para-Athlete, he’s training towards competing at the Paralympic and World level. Tommy’s also a Nordic skier, kayaker, rock climber, sailor, horserider, swimmer, canoeist and mountain biker. He loves Disney, YouTube, and Facebook. Tommy could read/type words before he began to speak at about age seven. The subtitles of Disney movies helped him develop language. Tommy inspires through his determination and enthusiasm! The YouTube channel lookyus educates about Autism and allows viewers to appreciate all that a person with Autism has to share with others.

Here are the two videos mentioned during the podcast:

“Frozen” Characters Anna & Elsa meet Tommy in Norway
Olaf “In Summer” Parody: The First Fastest Runner

Visit Tommy Des Brisay’s website Autism Means Friendship.

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This episode of Special Mouse is sponsored by Amy at UP AND UP TRAVEL.

Up & Up Travel is a dedicated Disney Travel Agency where we focus on partnering with our clients to create magical family vacations that truly realize their full potential. We take pride in having the most up to date & helpful information for every client need. Please let us know how we can best serve your family!  ~Amy

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The Special Mouse Tip of the Week has to do with safety in the theme parks. Parents of non-verbal children with Autism often worry about becoming separated. A Runner’s ID is a good way to provide Cast Members with information about the child should he or she become separated from parents. As it says on the RoadID.com website, “If you can’t speak for yourself, your Road ID will speak for you.”

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Please visit our Chat Room on Thursday nights, 8pm EST to connect with other listeners of the show.

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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Episode 001 Introducing the Special Mouse Podcast!

Welcome to the first episode of the Special Mouse Podcast! I hope to bring you both information and inspiration when it comes to Disney travel and your extra challenges.

In the Introduction, I share my own Disney-with-special-needs experience with you (my youngest child has Autism) and offer a bit of insight into why I created this podcast.

Feature Interview: Colette Krahenbuhl from Give Kids The World Village in Central Florida.

Colette details the history of Give Kids The World, a non-profit organization whose mission is “to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions…”

We discuss the many ways in which listeners can support GKTW through the sharing of time, talent and/or resources.

To learn more, please visit the website at Give Kids The World. You can tweet with GKTW on Twitter @GKTWVillage

Your Special Trip Report: Bill and Tracy from Southern Illinois, USA.

Bill and Tracy share highlights from their latest (of many) trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Bill has Cerebral Palsy and lives with both mobility and speech impairments. We discuss the complexities of  air travel with a power wheelchair and hotel room accessibility at both the Pop Century Resort and the Boardwalk Villas. Tracy shares some of her experiences traveling and touring WDW as a person of size.

 

Just wait until you hear about the surprise Bill planned for Tracy during their Private Dining Experience at the Grand Floridian!  So romantic! *sigh*

If you would like to connect with Bill or Tracy you can find them on Facebook at Tracy Brooks and Bill Kaiser, and on Twitter @mrsksomeday and @kaiserb.

Thanks for listening! ~ Kathy

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