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Safety 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

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Posts Tagged 'Safety'

Stroller as Wheelchair on Walt Disney World Buses?

Stroller-tag

Photo: chipandco.com

Let’s clear up the confusion surrounding use of the stroller as wheelchair accommodation and safe transit on the Walt Disney World bus system!

The stroller as wheelchair accommodation offered within the theme parks is designed to help children with disabilities and medical conditions to access attractions. Disney says:
“Guests with disabilities—including those with a cognitive disability—who need to remain in a stroller while in an attraction queue should visit the Guest Relations Lobby at the theme parks in order to obtain the appropriate identifying tag.” This accommodation can be used with any stroller, from a top-of-the-line Maclaren to the throwaway umbrella you picked up at Walmart just for the trip.

It can also be used for actual wheelchairs.

Lightweight, folding pediatric wheelchairs are often referred to as strollers – special needs strollers, adaptive strollers or medical strollers. It can be difficult for Cast Members to tell the difference between them and some of the fancy stroller models available today! That is why I typically recommend that parents who utilize pediatric wheelchairs for their children request the stroller-as-wheelchair tag for use in the parks, simply as a convenience. Yes, you know it’s a wheelchair and I know it’s a wheelchair, but who wants to have to explain the difference to Cast Members over and over all day long?

So, you’ve had a fun day at one of the parks and now it’s time to return to your resort via the Disney bus system. Here is where things seem to get a bit fuzzy in people’s minds when it comes to the stroller as wheelchair accommodation at Disney! Strollers must be folded when boarding the Disney buses…

stroller-folded

Photo: touringplans.com

This applies even if you have a stroller as wheelchair tag. Remember, this accommodation is provided for theme park attraction access only. There is no way to safely secure a child in a stroller while on the bus – period.

But hey! What about those special needs strollers we mentioned earlier? Many times I’ve read comments from parents who were annoyed because they were unable to wheel their child onto a bus and allow the child to remain in their stroller. “But, it’s not a stroller, it’s a WHEELCHAIR!” they protest.

True. However, not all pediatric wheelchairs are equipped to be bus transit safe!

Let’s look at one of the most popular suppliers of special needs strollers (folding pediatric wheelchairs) — Convaid.

Convaid makes a variety of wheelchairs; most can be outfitted with an additional transit package:

Transit Option – Required Items:

  • Headrest Extension

  • Trunk Positioning Belt

  • Foot Positioners

  • Four Bright Red Anchors (manufacturer required installation)

According to Convaid, their wheelchairs are only transit safe if they are outfitted with this transit package and are secured in a forward facing position. (For more information, you can download the Convaid Transit brochure HERE.)

This is why not all children in special needs strollers (wheelchairs) are permitted to remain inside them while on the buses — it simply is not safe. And, to insist that the bus driver transport your child in this manner when the chair is not equipped for transit is asking him or her to go against safety standards.

So, if you want to be able to transport your child in his or her special needs wheelchair, make sure that it is equipped with the necessary transit options.

Safe for Transit on Bus-

Thanks for reading!

For more about special needs at all Disney travel locations, listen & subscribe to the Special Mouse podcast.

 

Kathy

Posted in: Blog

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WDW Attraction Vehicles and Seating Guide, Part One: Magic Kingdom 060

PPan

 

Erin Foster, original member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line (2015 edition), joins Kathy to discuss her recent four-part blog series at touringplans.com: Walt Disney World Attraction Vehicles and Seating Guide. Today we take a practical look at the attractions and seating at the Magic Kingdom.

The questions that Erin originally set out to answer in her blog series were:

  • I’m a single parent with two small children, will I be separated from them on rides?
  • I’m a plus-sized person, can I fit into the ride vehicles without embarrassment?
  • My knees are bad, will I have to step up or down to get into the ride vehicles?
  • I’m in a wheelchair, do I have to transfer out of it to go on the rides?
  • I have a large party, how will we be split up when visiting the attractions?
  • I have balance issues, will the attraction vehicle be moving while I’m trying to board?

You can find her post here on Touring Plans.

We expand on this information to include elements of attraction vehicles and seating that have an impact on those with sensory issues and fears:

  • Darkness, bright lights
  • Loud Noises
  • Strong Smells
  • Spinning, Motion Sickness
  • Heights

Included in our discussion is an explanation of the Child Swap, Use of Strollers, Disney Parks policy on Cast Members assisting with transfers to ride vehicles, and the importance of following posted safety guidelines/recommendations (especially for guests who are pregnant or who have pre-existing heart, back and neck problems).

Tip of the Week:

For plus-size guests who may be concerned about ride vehicles that require the use of seat belts: some of the attractions provide seat belt extenders. Ask a cast member about availability at the entrance to an attraction if you are concerned about fitting into the traditional seat belt. You want to be both safe and comfortable!

Join us next time for Part Two of the Walt Disney World Attraction Vehicles and Seating Guide when we look at Epcot.

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

 

Posted in: Podcast

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Safety IDs for Nonverbal Kids to Wear on Disney Vacations

Lost parents sign

Over the years, with the help of ABA and speech therapy, our sixteen year-old with Autism has gradually gained more speech. He’s not quite conversational, mind you, but he can understand what is being said to him and is able to communicate his needs. And he can answer basic questions like “What is your name?” and “What is your phone number?”

This was not the case when we first traveled to Walt Disney World in 2003. At the age of five, he was practically non-verbal. So you can imagine how worried I was about the possibility of him getting separated from us in a busy theme park. Even if he did manage to find a Cast Member (we repeatedly showed the kids pictures of what their name tags looked like), he wouldn’t be able to answer any of their questions!

The most obvious intervention — one used by many parents of non- or low-verbal children — is to sew labels into the children’s clothing. Well, that idea wouldn’t work for Billy because of his tactile hypersensitivity – he couldn’t tolerate the feel of the labels in his clothes. They seemed almost painful for him. Ditto for any type of ID bracelet or “dog” tag.

My husband came up with the perfect solution. He ordered Billy a Road ID that could be worn on one of his sneakers. It was just like the one he himself wore when running. All of Billy’s emergency contact information could be placed on the Shoe ID and it would not touch his skin at all!

Billy tolerated the Shoe ID so well that when we returned home we just left it on his sneaker. It attaches with Velcro, so it can be easily transferred to another pair of shoes if needed.

RoadID

 

If your child will tolerate it, the Road ID can also be worn on the ankle, the wrist, or as a “dog tag.”

images

My friend Heidi (also an Autism mom) developed her own version of sensory-friendly identification which she currently sells on Etsy. Safety ID Stickers for Kids hide your child’s personal information while still being highly visible if they need help. Just stick one on your child’s shirt and go! You pick from the many designs available for the outer sticker and Heidi custom prints the inner sticker with the contact information that you provide her. The stickers are weather proof and the ink will not run even when submerged in water. The stickers stay on until you take them off and leave no adhesive residue on the clothing like tape can.

SafetyIDStickers

 

They aren’t my cup of tea (because the information is so readily visible to strangers), but many parents choose Tattoos With a Purpose. Simply attach the temporary tattoo to your child in a visible area and using the provided marker write down a contact number on the tattoo in case your child goes missing.

TempTattoo

 

Temporary tattoos are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and can be removed with rubbing alcohol or baby oil.

Another ID system developed by an Autism mom uses smart phone technology. If I Need Help is a non-profit organization that provides a place where the multitude of information about a person with special needs can be kept in one place. This information can be accessed by whoever needs it at the time. Profiles can be accessed manually from any web browser or via scanned QR Codes. QR Codes can be read quickly by any smartphone. QR reader Apps can be downloaded for free from App stores.

qr-code-id-patchx2

These QR Code patches can be sewn onto favorite items of clothing or…

QR-tshirt-sml_10_BestBudsMyKids

You can purchase a variety of clothing with the QR Code patches already attached.

 

Utilizing a Safety ID system for your non- or low-verbal child is an effective way to reduce the stress associated with touring a crowded environment in which the child may wander and become separated from you. Choose a system that works best for you and use it to have a more enjoyable vacation!

How about you? Does your family use a safety ID system that you like?

The first person to write a comment on this blog will receive one QR Code Patch compliments of Erin from If I Need Help!

Thanks for reading,

Kathy

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Travel Tips for the Adult with ADHD – 035

Travel Tips for the Adult with ADHD – 035

Eric Tivers, host of ADHD reWired, joins Kathy to discuss the Disney vacation planning challenges faced by adults with ADHD.

 

Tivers

 

Feature Interview:  Eric Tivers is a mental health counselor and personal coach who specializes in ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We had a fabulous and funny conversation and answered a few listener questions about Disney travel planning and adults like  him who are living with ADHD. You’ll hear Eric share that while he loves traveling and vacationing, he finds the planning part stressful. (I think he needs the services of a Disney travel agent, don’t you?!)

Eric will be speaking at the 25th Anniversary International Adult ADHD Conference  July 24-27 in Orlando, Florida.

You can find Eric Tivers at erictivers.com

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This episode of the Special Mouse podcast is sponsored by Up & Up Travel, a Disney-dedicated travel agency that specializes in serving those with special needs and health challenges.

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Tip of the Week: Today’s tip comes from my friend Heidi. Heidi is an Autism mom like me, and she has created a product called Safety ID Stickers for Kids. These double-layer stickers hide your child’s personal information while remaining highly visible if they need help. You pick the design of the sticker (there are numerous Disney themes available) and Heidi will custom print the inner sticker with the contact information you provide.

Sticker sets are available for purchase in her Etsy.com shop.

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Big News! Special Mouse will soon be adding a BLOG to the website! I am actively seeking guest contributions related to Disney travel and guests with special needs. This is YOUR chance to share your knowledge and experience with the Special Mouse Community. Contact me at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com if you would like to blog with me!

Thank you to listeners GORDON LAGROW and MICHAEL J. CARRASCO for their generous contributions to Special Mouse!

Thanks for listening!

Kathy

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