Florida with an autistic Child

Florida Guide > Travelling

We have been travelling to Orlando with our autistic daughter for many years and find it a great place for all the family.

The holiday starts at the airport. We let the airline know about our daughter’s needs before we go and they are always really helpful. Our usual airline has a special check in desk for special needs and there usually isn’t a queue at that desk.

Our luggage is usually ‘upgraded’ so that it comes off the plane first in Orlando and the airport staff can help you through security if you need extra help. We even were sent to the 1st class queue on one occasion when the queues were long, much to the annoyance of the real First class passengers ! We are then provided with a ‘golf cart’ or wheel chair to get us to the boarding gate.

We usually pre-board the plane so that we can settle our daughter before everyone else gets on. When possible the airline gives us bulk-head seats with extra leg-room - as our daughter can sometimes kick. The extra space also gives room for all the items needed to keep her occupied for the long flight.

In Orlando airport we find security helpful and patient as we try to get our daughter’s finger prints and photo.

Staying in a private Orlando villa is ideal for a family with a disabled child. We have lots of space, a pool of our own and can relax without having to worry about our daughter making a nuisance of her-self with other people around the pool. You can choose a villa with all the facilities that you need/would like. Most owners are happy to talk to you if you have any unusual needs. Most private villas have games rooms, DVD players etc so there is plenty to do if you want a day off from the parks.

The parks are geared for disabled people. If you take a doctor’s letter with you, you can get a pass from guest services so that you don’t have to queue for the rides, but go straight on.

I like the attitude that the staff in the Disney shops have toward our daughter. They don’t regard her as ‘special needs’ but just ‘special’ and that makes a big difference. They always seam very patient with her.

I would really recommend Orlando as a great place to go when you have a special needs child in the family. It is a holiday that all the family can enjoy.

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