Summer will always be an interesting time for us. Since I work, the kids are in a daycare program. Mickey doesn’t do that well in a daycare situation – not enough structure. For that reason alone, summers are tough. But, this summer wasn’t all bad and his worst day in the summer of 2013, was equivalent to his best day during the summer of 2012.
The kids started begging for a Disney trip. A year ago, I didn’t think it was possible, but I was beginning to wonder if it was. We hadn’t seen a meltdown at home in months. School meltdowns were easily diffused. Therapy was down to 3 times a week (1 CSI, 1 individual and 1 family). The kids plotted against me for the first time and I thought it was awesome! They were building a relationship and they combined forces to begin a rather relentless Disney campaign.
So, I began to think about it and researching Disney, including their disability program. I also decided that Mickey needed a trial at a theme park. For an ASD/SPD kid, Disney can be a nightmare. I could only imagine Mickey waiting in line for 45 minutes or dealing with the crowds and heat. I made a couple of decisions:
#1 – though I swore I wouldn’t be the parent who took their kids out of school to go to Disney, but for Mickey to do this, peak crowds and peak heat were not going to be an option.
#2 – If Mickey wanted to go to Disney, he was going to have to show me that he could earn it.
#3 – We would try a theme park on our annual Indiana trip and see how it went.
I planned our trip for late September, which was Minnie and Mickey’s birthdays, but I didn’t pull the trigger on paying for it until after Indiana.
We had a couple of major events this summer. The first was that my parents moved closer. Turns out that Minnie and Mickey being 18 miles away from them was just too much. They moved 6 miles away to a new house. On move in day, the neighbor’s house caught fire and burned to the ground. The fire department asked us to get out of my parent’s house as well, as it was a windy day and the houses were relatively close together. The street was blocked and we couldn’t leave. We had to watch the house burn. All people and animals were able to get out without injury. As a result, Mickey developed a very intense fear of fire.
We had moved earlier in the year to a bigger house with a better yard for Mason. We also got a pool. I discovered that both kids had a relatively large fear of water. I found out later that Minnie’s was related to a near drowning as a baby – intentional. While in her foster home her fear was so intense that they struggled to even bathe her. Mickey’s was just his initial fear of everything. We had done swim lessons, and both had improved. Minnie passed and Mickey failed, 3 times. He panicked too much to float, but he was able to hold his breath, swim under water, and was an adequate swimmer.
We went to Indiana for our trip. I recruited a couple of cousins and my aunt to go to Holiday World with us for our practice theme park trip. Mickey did great. He kept his cool, he was able to identify things he couldn’t handle (roller coasters, lines that were too long). He had a couple of moments when something he wanted wasn’t something he could handle, but all in all, I think he did great. Those moments were easily diffused, he asked for breaks when he needed and I began to think our Disney trip might happen.
We hung out with family, we rode four wheelers, attended a SWAT team training exercise, did paddle boats, and made the foolish attempt at roasting marshmallows. given Mickey’s new found fire fear, that didn’t end well. He panicked, there was hyperventilating and a mini freak out.
But, it was a great trip and we were ready for Kindergarten and 2nd grade and maybe the trip “they had dreamed about for their whole lives!!”. My kids are nothing if not dramatic…