Florida with a Disabled Child
We have been travelling to Orlando with our autistic daughter
for 8 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 ‘upgraded’ so that it comes of the
plane first in Orlando and they help us through security – putting us in 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
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.
By Sue Reed
(January 2009 web-site