Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Clueless at "The Happiest Place on Earth"

Happy New Year.  I hope all are embarking on a New Year with resolve, happiness and conviction.  You can do anything, don't let the New Years Resolutions stress you out.
My children's birthdays are the same week as Christmas, so this year we took all their birthday money and Christmas presents from our family and friends and became Annual Passholders at Disneyland Resort.  I feel very blessed and fortunate that we are able to do this for our kids.
I have just returned from a quick visit there with my son who is 6.  He also has Autism and is non-verbal.  After his first visit to California Adventure a couple of weeks ago and his pure joy and excitement that was visible in the new "Cars Land", Tonight we had no extra therapy after school,  all my chores were done, and daddy was home from work early and was able to stay home with our 4 year old who was under the weather.  So I kidnapped my 6 year old and went for a quick trip to the Disneyland Resort.  This is completely blowing his structure and routine, so I could be asking for a major melt down, but hoping for the best.
In our home we watch the movie "Cars" everyday, which is why my son recognizes the area, and if you haven't been there, I highly recommend it.  You really and truly feel like you walked into Radiator Springs "The cutest little town in Carburetor County".  After we parked our car and loaded ourselves onto the tram, which I think my son thinks is a ride as he screams with glee as it drives to the theme parks!
After watching the Pixar Parade we do a couple of small rides that I know he will enjoy, and the smiles and joy you see on his face are just epic.  It fills my heart with nothing but joy.  Being that my son has developmental challenges  and delays I do get a Guest Assistance pass that basically lets us go into most rides through the exit and get on without waiting in line.  It helps my son with the crowds and standing around for a long period of time would completely ruin his time and the time of everyone around us.  So I do feel incredibly lucky that Disney sees autism as a disability and provides us with this pass.
As we used our pass to get on a ride that had a 30 minute line, there was the guy.  You know that guy with a big mouth who as a mother you want to punch in the throat for being a jerk.  As we got on the ride, he started exclaiming  "What is her money better than mine?!", the Disney Cast Member "Sir, they have a special pass that requires him to get special assistance".  The neanderthal "Yeah, sure he looks fine, there is nothing wrong, I'm calling BS on his mother and Disney".  And then the white hot rage in my belly came forth, but all that came out of my mouth was "You should probably stop talking now, because I will own you everyday and twice on Sunday because you know not what you speak and you do NOT want me to humilitate your ignorant self in front of all these lovely people."
And the tears welled up in my eyes and I got on the ride with the most precious gift in my life and put my arm around him and felt horrible that there are humans that are so horrible and clueless.  If you think Autism is a picnic and I fake it to get a Disneyland special access pass you need to be mentally evaluated.   Yes it makes my life easier at Disneyland to have a pass and it helps my kids enjoy their time at Disney much better.
I would give up the access pass in a nano second if my kids didn't have Autism.  Their lives are so challenging and difficult FOREVER.
  • There will always be the thug and bully that was raised by the jerk in line who will want to pick on them.
  • There will always be the challenge with their motor skills to do things appropriately,
  • There will always be issues with sensory overload, there will always be social skills issues,
  • There will always be the lack of awareness in others. 
This pass turns a sensory, crowded overloaded nightmare into a "Very Happy Place" for my kids.  Not the "Happiest Place on Earth" yet, but it really helps.
If you are a naysayer that believes I'm faking and want to cut in line because it's easy, I'm sorry you are so ignorant, unhappy and angry at the world.  Maybe you should look at your own kids who have no issues (except a jerk as a parent) and be grateful and happy because your kids
  • were potty trained at 3 years old
  • go to school and do homework without a yearly meeting with a team of people trying to decide what is best for your kid
  • plays on a sports team, or other kind of socially involved club
  • has regular play dates and friends
  • sleeps through the night at 6 years old
  • cognitively understands you when you say something
  • can dress themselves, and feed themselves... (shall I go on) 
Until you walked 5 feet in my shoes you and your unhappiness and jaw jacking to embarrass someone in public serve no purpose.
I look forward to challenging and helping my kids get social skills this year and I have a huge tool that will help me.  I hope and pray  you can smile at us and know how truly happy we are that growing, and moving forward with the obstacle of autism and by allowing us to "cut in front" of the line you are helping make that lesson possible.  So for that I thank you and hope it doesn't ruin your time at "The Happiest Place on Earth".

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