Standing TAWL for the autism community and beyond!
Friday, September 27, 2013
A Letter to Disney from an Autism Mom who WAS Disneyland Bound
I just found out about the changes to your Guest Assistance Program and
although I'm sure that you've been the center of heated outrage from
others like me, I'm going to go for a different approach. I am begging
for the voice of our community to be heard.
My son has autism. I
am physically disabled. I have spent the last two years living in
poverty, struggling just to get by. I am finally in a position to take
my child to a place we've been dreaming of visiting since he was only 2.
Disneyland. Only now, at nearly 7 years old, did I think he was ready
to take on your park. I was happily planning our vacation for
mid-October, when I found out that your park would no longer be
accessible to my child at that time.
You see, all of those
"perks" that you have eliminated, have now put me in a position where I
am going to have to tell my son, our plans are cancelled. We can not,
visit your park, because of a bunch of selfish, scamming individuals. I
get why you made changes... I really do! The things people did to get
these "perks"... well to me it's quite disgusting. I would wait in line
for 2 and a half hours over dealing with lack of mobility, any day of
Accommodations for individual in wheel chairs are
totally fair, and if we visit your park, that will be me. But you left
out a HUGE portion of the disabled population. In your new policy, you
acknowledge auditory, visual, and mobility impairments. You mention
epilepsy and several other disorders, but you fail to mention a HUGE
demographic. The autism community... better yet, those with neurological
disabilities. The ASD community alone represents a huge portion of the
US! 1 in 50 school aged kids is on the spectrum. Your new policy
effectively excludes each and every one of these kids. And that's not
even counting adults or individuals with other neurological conditions.
I ask you, from the bottom of my heart, to revise your policy to
include accommodations for this demographic. Give every child a chance
to visit this magical place of happiness and wonder! I take no issue
with you changing your policies. Something needed to be done to stop the
scamming... But do it in a way that doesn't exclude anyone who may need
some special accommodations at your park.
I have two choices
right now... scramble to go on vacation before October 8th, when your
changes will go into effect OR cancel. I am begging you to give us a
third option. Allow my child to see a place he's been dreaming of
visiting for years. If it was your child, you would want the same.