Snakes In The Mouse House

GreedyMcGreedersons: 1 / Disney: 0

I found out today that Disney is changing their “Disability Accommodation Pass” Policy thanks to the greedy actions of some wealthy asshats & morally bankrupt disabled folks.  Thanks a lot, jerks – way to ruin it for the rest of us.  And thanks Disney for punishing those of us who genuinely need this to enjoy your park!  I was actually looking forward to taking The Boy to the Halloween celebration at Disneyland, but now, I am going to have to reconsider.

You see, before I knew what an accommodation pass was, we had a handful of stressful experiences at Disneyland, and I figured that Disneyland just wasn’t going to be something The Boy, The Husband & I could enjoy as a family.  It saddened me, because growing up 15 minutes from The Happiest Place On Earth, Disneyland was such a part of my childhood that I naturally assumed it would be the same for The Boy.

It was a sad realization that he wouldn’t have the same experiences I had there … until I had heard about the “accommodation pass” from a woman who runs a non-profit group for families of kids on the Autism Spectrum.

Waiting in line is hard for The Boy.  Much more difficult than it is for a typical kid … And being over-stimulated by all of the crowds, the fanfare, the parades, the noises, the characters — it’s a lot for a little Aspie to deal with.  It’s a lot for the mom of a little Aspie to deal with, but then I was told about the “accommodation pass.”  This changed everything!!

With the accommodation pass, we only go a couple of times a year & even then, we plan it out for a day that will likely be less busy, with less over-stimulation, and hopefully with less judgmental eyeballs on us, sizing up HOW it is we three can cut to the front of the line because we all “look” so “normal.”  We never abuse the pass & if there is an occasion where he can tolerate the line, we wait like everyone else.

And to be clear, you don’t get anything for “free” – you still pay for your ticket.  Having an accommodation pass doesn’t mean that you get to cut in front of the line and breeze on to the ride, but it does trim down on the wait times & takes you out of the regular line so that a meltdown due to overstimulation from crowds, and / or waiting is a lot less likely to occur.  It allows us to have a more “normal” & easy experience.

You cannot use the accommodation pass to cut down the wait time for dining, so there’s that barrel of monkeys to contend with, and you also can’t use it to cut into the line to meet with the characters, so we don’t get to do a lot of character meet & greets, (except recently I made friends with the character guide & asked him when the next time Sully was going to make an appearance so that I could try to time it out perfectly.  I ran with The Boy & his tow-headed girlfriend, so that we could be the very first people in line.  We almost made it, but we were like 5 people too late.  However, thanks to the sweet stranger in front of me, through a natural conversation, I briefly & quietly explained our situation, and she was kind enough to let us go in front of her & her son.

I certainly don’t expect preferential treatment, but I definitely appreciate any accommodations that kind, compassionate people are willing to bestow upon us.  It’s hard enough to confide in someone that my kid isn’t “normal,” even though he may seem to be at first glance.  I truly appreciate the courtesies that are afforded by understanding strangers.  And on the flip side, the glaring looks from those judgmental asshats anger me to no end.  You want to trade me?  I’d gladly take waiting in line for 45 minutes if that meant my son didn’t have to struggle with  Aspergers Syndrome.

No, I don’t think it is fair that other kids – “normal” kids, “typical” kids –  have to wait in long lines to go on rides.  I know it’s tough for any kid to wait, and I do think that adults with light disabilities should let all kids go first.  They’re kids after all!!  BUT, kids with mental delays, kids who are not neuro-typical, kids who have any disability or chronic disease — well, they should go straight to the front of the line.  If for no other reason than this: LIFE IS HARD when you have a disability.  And Disneyland is a magical place where that is all somehow erased … it’s a special place where not being “typical” doesn’t mean anything other than you’re super cool … At Disneyland, the playing field is leveled.  Everyone is SPECIAL.

So … some idiots totally ruined this for those of us who were just cruising along enjoying the brief respite from the storm of spectrum disorders as we meandered down Main Street.  I’m so annoyed I could rip their heads off and roll them down the crest of the Matterhorn!  (Of course after hours when the kids wouldn’t see this!)

Truly, I don’t mind proving The Boy’s eligibility with an IEP or a Dr’s note if that means that people, like us, who genuinely need the accommodation pass will still receive it.  But taking it away completely is a real tragedy.  It makes me angry that these selfish idiots have ruined things for those of us who have come to rely on this to enjoy Disneyland.   Sadly, I know it doesn’t phase them one damn bit.  There are no sleepless nights for them.  They don’t give a crap that my kid is going to suffer.  They’ll find another scam … and I’ll probably write another pissed off post.

No, I’m not sure I’ll be coming back to Disneyland if it means merely getting a “fast pass” for us.  Do you know how difficult it is for a 4 yr old Aspie to grasp the concept of “later?”  “No, sweet Boy, we cannot ride the Radiator Springs Racers right now, but in 45 minutes we will be able to.”  No, it’s impossible to understand if you A) are not an Aspie Kid; or B) are not a parent or caretaker of an Aspie Kid.  And I’m actually surprised that Autism Speaks was ok with this change.  What was their payout to get on board with this bullcrap?  They sure don’t speak for me!

Let the 56 year old lady on the little rascal wait in line with her leach family  – Let the spectrum kids, and the cancer kids, and the cerebral palsy kids and the kids who are 16 and under with ANY disability get on that ride FIRST.  END. OF. DISCUSSION.

And I’m pretty sure that Walt would agree.

And yeah, I can say that because I worked at Disney for a large chunk of my adult life & know a lot more about the Disney culture, what Walt believed, and the vision that he had for Disneyland than most of the losers who are making decisions up there now …

Punishing kids with disabilities for the bad behavior of the rich & entitled was NOT in his vision.

End Rant. (for tonight anyway.)

We Need More Michael Garcias In The World

I read a story this morning about a man named Michael Garcia, a waiter in Texas, who refused to serve an ignorant man jerk after he repeatedly insulted a child with Down’s Syndrome, Milo, a five-year-old boy who was dining at a nearby table with his family.

The phrase that the jerk uttered made me sad and angry, “special needs children need to be special somewhere else.

What’s worse?  He said that in front of his own children.

I’ll let that just sink in with you for a moment.

He said that in front of his own children.  Not sure of their ages, but after reading that, I cried.  I cried because … what kind of ignorance and intolerance is being bred in this society, huh?  I thought we had progressed as a people.  I had more faith in humanity.  It’s so disappointing to read about such cruelty enacted toward another human being, by an adult no less.  In public no less.  But at the same time, it’s uplifting to read about the person who speaks up against such viciousness.

Thank you, Michael Garcia, for defending the beauty and grace in this world ~ that’s what a child is, beauty and grace.  A child with special needs is no less beautiful, nor any less graceful.  So, thank you, Michael Garcia, for defending beauty & grace, and defending their right to reside in the world, participate and live in it.  Eat dinner with their families in it.

Tell me, Texas Jerk, where else are our children supposed to be special?  Would you prefer we lock them in shackles down in the basement and never burden the general public with make-no-sense-melt-downs and verbal tics whilst the perfect people of society chew on their chicken parmesan?

This jerk should be so lucky to have kids that don’t require any extra patience, or love, or attention, or work.  What a perfect parent  you must be in order to have such well-behaved children that you can sit in judgement of someone else’s.

And, I’ll readily admit that I’m guilty of passing judgement on peoples’ parenting skills, (or lack thereof,) in the past.  Especially before I had my own child. “I’ll never let my kid behave like that …” said the silly, ignorant childless me, the me who had no idea what being a parent actually entailed – the little victories, the trivial wars over silly stuff like putting ones shoes on by oneself.  I have eaten bowl after bowl of “I’ll never do that when I’m a mom …” cookies.

But I just don’t understand how a parent can perpetuate such intolerance; teaching his own children to hate those whom they may not understand or be able to relate to.  And this kind of intolerance breeds cruelty, which is what that father enacted, and what his children witnessed.  Great teaching moment, dad.

But Michael Garcia gave the dad an out, saying that it was ‘fear of the unknown‘ which made him behave in such a despicable manner.

Well, this angers me because in 2013 I feel like the excuse “fear of the unknown” is a cop-out.  That’s unacceptable to me.  If you don’t know, ask.  If you are afraid of something, or don’t understand something, go and search for the answers, talk to people, GOOGLE IT, understand it, figure it out.  As a mother of a child who is atypical, I’m open to you asking me questions about it, and hell, everyone has access to the internet where we can find answers to EVERYTHING in under fifteen seconds.

Be Nice, Be Tolerant | The Fairly Good Mother

Have you ever met a child with Downs Syndrome?  I have.  I regularly volunteer at my son’s school & have weekly interactions with 2 Downs kids.  They are the sweetest, most loving kids in the building.  They run up to me, open arms, ready with a hug and a smile.  They are goofy and silly and eager to learn.  How can that scare you?  How is goofy, silly & eager threatening?  How is that ‘unknown’?  I have no clue.

The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is “There by the grace of God go I …”  Now, dear reader, I’m not a religious woman by any means – spiritual, yes –  but I can’t help but repeat that phrase in my head after reading the story.  So, what happens when this jerk’s children have children?  And what happens if one of his grandkids has Downs?  Then what?  Will he sit and openly mock them at family dinner?

If that should happen, hopefully there will be more Michael Garcia’s in the world to step in and protect the innocents, the special needs kids, the kids who are different, the ones who don’t quite fit in.  And we should all aspire to be like Michael Garcia, to teach our children to be more like Michael Garcia, and stand up against ignorance, intolerance and cruelty.