Long Beach, CA (PRWEB) October 15, 2013
Special needs parents around the country are fired up in response to Disney Parks changing services for guests with cognitive and other limiting disabilities, announced last Wednesday on October 9th. Thousands upon thousands of parents have reached out to Disney guest services, but have failed to gain traction regarding the necessary accommodations that cognitively and physically disabled family members have experienced for decades. With the introduction of the new Disability Access Service card, many guests are concerned about the lack of specific accommodations for attraction wait times, permission to use alternate less crowded entrances, and sensitive discussions regarding private medical information with park Cast Members.
Most special needs family trips to a Disney Park begin in City Hall. However, since the death of the GAC, an overwhelming amount of parents have taken to social media communications to spread the word regarding their displeasure at these new developments. Popular hashtags on this issue include #atragickingdom, #disneyisbroken, and #bringbackgac, among others. There is even a Tumblr site dedicated to many family's Disney disability grievances. Much of this dissension is, in a large part, due to the conflicts many families are experiencing as part of the new Disability Access Service card transition. Even more parents have become rattled by the newly published Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.
This guide hints at the premise that many of the individuals with cognitive disabilities require improved preparation to enjoy the new Disney Parks experience. Their guide suggests families create visual schedules to assist disabled children and family members - however there is no way to predict the outcome of a visit to this park ahead of time. Furthermore, the new DAS eliminates the ability for a family to gain access to alternate entrances - a critical component for cognitively disabled individuals coping with sensory dysfunction. Disney's trite suggestions to watch videos, study maps, and practice waiting in line have incensed many seasoned parent's who already employ such basic tactics for overcoming social anxieties. Additionally, the Disney Guide suggests that guests should pack reinforcers for good behavior as well as a sensory toy to avert meltdowns triggered by sensory overload. For parents of special needs children, it's easy to see where these empty suggestions fail to offer realistic help or advice for the changing system.
Kim McClain, is a mom of a child on the autism spectrum and a certified advocate of the McClain Special Needs Advocacy group has approached Disney headquarters four times to arrange for delivery of her petition, featuring nearly 35,000 signatures against the new program. However, Disney has not finalized such a meeting to date. McClain states,"Disney has proposed a blanket approach which does not cover the very individualized and unique needs of a significant amount of people with specific challenges." The advocacy group is accepting donations for petition printing and future outreach efforts on the gofundme platform. She is hopeful that the petition document can be delivered at Saturday's protest and the world is watching and waiting for Disney to show that it still cares about those individuals with invisible disabilities. Please feel free to join in this peaceful demonstration on Saturday, October 19th. Current details are available on the McClain Special Needs Advocacy Facebook page.
For details on Disney Parks changing services for guests with cognitive disabilities:
For additional information on the impact of tantrums and meltdowns related to Autism and how they impact many individuals with cognitive and/or physical disabilities: