A few months ago I came across this group called Autism & US which is a 501c (3) non profit organization parent/ caregiver support group that focuses on Autism Awareness by allowing parents, caregivers, educators, therapists, coaches, caseworkers. Medical workers or those who are on the spectrum themselves to receive, and provide support to bring awareness to Autism. This amazing group was founded by La Bonita Dawson or as we call her Nita, and Co Founded by Vice President Linda Garite. When I first joined the group I was automatically welcomed which made me feel great. As an autism behavioral technician (RBT) I wanted a group where I was not only learning more about the field I am working in but a group where I could give, and receive advice as well. As the months went on I reached out to Nita to learn about Focused Lives, and I completed my first Focus Live a few months ago. Now that I am vetted by Nita and Linda I try to complete a Focus Live once a month, and participate in the group as much as I can. Not only are we a family in the group but Linda & Nita just started a book club which is based on Autism. Right now we are reading a book called “The Reason I Jump” By Naoki Higashida translated by David Mitchell. You can find the group on Face book and at autismandus.org
Autism On The Seas
Autism on the seas is an international organization in collaboration with Royal Caribbean international since 2007. This group developed cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children or adults with special needs ranging from Autism, Aspergers, Down syndrome, Tourettes, Cerebral Palsy, and all cognitive intellectual and developmental disabilities. This group provides respite care, and private activities/ sessions. You receive expedited boarding/ embarkation, private muster drills, breakfast/ lunch/ dinner seating, private venue sessions, reserved show seating, and more. To find out more information go to autismontheseas.com
Some of the testimonials that I have seen for Autism on the Seas are truly amazing. Since I can’t give one yet I will borrow some testimonials from Autism on the Seas, and paste them below, and cite them. I hope that these testimonials help your family to make a choice to book a cruise this year. I will give my testimonial once I get to go on autism on the seas cruise with my love one year. Enjoy your cruise!
#AutismontheSeas – From Terra Marquette, cruised August 2019: “We had an amazing time! Eric still smiles when we talk of the cruise and his fabulous birthday celebration. We all made so many friends and felt so loved! It’s definitely something we want to do again. Thank you, Autism on the Seas!”
#AutismontheSeas – From Christine Lewis, AotS Volunteer Staff, Aug 2019: “Pool time and Dinner time are two of my favorite activities on Autism on the Seas Cruises! Giving kids and their parents time to relax and reconnect is our goal. Seeing families laughing and enjoying their time together makes volunteering and supporting kids as they step outside of their comfort zone, try new activities and make new friends is what it’s all about!”
How do I expect the cruise to go?
I do plan on doing an Autism on the Seas cruise eventually with my babe. I think rob could use the help with me on board but if I get over stimulated we can ask for time alone. So now that I looked up the adult side the staff provide us with customized activities like karaoke, dance parties, board games, group shore excursions, and more. They also provide private adult events and activities like venues. During meals we with special needs are exempt from dress code, and can wear whatever we want. Autism On The Seas provides staff assistance at all meals. You also get priority boarding/ embarkation.
What I would do!
I think having the help with me would be great! We would use the staff as much as we can minus the beach parties they reserve. I prefer to stay back on the ship go to the shops, go in the pool, or the hot tub, get Shirley temples, and relax. I think we would take advantage of the respite activities so I could de- stimulate, and relax in between activities. I think it would also be nice to attend private events like shows, water slides, meals, and more.
Autism Resources Disney World
So before I completely end this blog I was looking at Disney Accommodations for Autism, and yes they provide accommodations to! Some of the accommodations they provide are advanced ticket purchase, strollers, and wheelchairs, rider switch, accessing attractions with fast pass, break areas, companion restrooms, and dietary restrictions. Some tips to help y’all prepare for your Disney trip are to plan a visual schedule for your kiddo, watch videos of Disney, study locations to meet up at parks, study location maps, and practice lining up in order to make your Disney trip successful.
Important things to bring!
Some important things to bring to the cruise or to Disney world are a safety bracelet or nametag, ear plugs, or headphones, a favorite device or activity, reinforcers for good behavior, and a sensory toy. Also if your child has any medical conditions a medical alert bracelet is important to have your kiddo wear. Don’t forget to bring a comfort item like a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, sippy cup, bottle or other items. Finally don’t forget the weighted blanket for the bed so your kiddo sleeps well.
Wrapping it up!
Anyway y’all my inspiration for Autism Awareness is Huge! Being and Autism Behavior Technician (RBT), and having Autism myself makes Autism special , near and dear to my heart. So I hope that you enjoyed learning about Autism and Us, Autism on the Seas, and Autism resources at Disney World. These groups are a huge benefit to the families with special needs. I hope that you will come join us on Autism and Us, and that you enjoy the benefits of Autism on the Seas, and that you take advantage of the Disney World Resources and book your trips today!
Bowser, N. (2020, May 15). Home. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://autismandus.org/
User, S. (n.d.). Angels on the Seas. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://autismontheseas.com/
Services for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/cognitive-disabilities-services/