I’ve read on other blogs about parents getting special accommodations for their kids to help with the long lines that can be overwhelming. I know Disneyland provides this service so I gave Great America a call.
When I explained to the staff our child’s challenges, such as sensory overload, anxiety issues and explosive disorder. Her response was, “Oh yeah, we provide a pass for autistic kids for this. So is your son autistic?”
I explained that no, he had a mood disorder, but faced very similar challenges as an autistic child when it came to these environments (I know this since I babysit an autistic child). I then explained that I was more than happy to provide a letter from his doctor, as well as proof of medication.
Her response was, “Well ok, just come to the front desk when you get in the park and just say your son is autistic and we’ll provide you the pass.”
This got me thinking. As long as our kids remain undiagnosed, their illness remains unseen. It seems lately that autism is everywhere, in movies, books and prime time tv series such as Parenthood. This is a good thing, since it gives a voice to the illness. I believe that society is much more accepting of autistic kids, schools are more accommodating and in general we’re all more educated about it.
But with our kids, who remain undiagnosed because our doctors want to “wait and see”, our kids can’t easily explain themselves, they can’t be understood and we can’t really educate our own kids on what their living with. Instead, we walk around trying to explain a list of disorders that our child has and in the end, society still wants to label our kids, as in the case of Great America, “just say he’s autistic.”