Autistic Teenager


My DB has a 16 year old profoundly autistic son. We would like to plan a short trip in February with just the 3 of us…no large groups of friends and family like we normally do. We would plan our days very differently knowing his limitations…he can only tolerate stimulation for about 2 hours without becoming extremely agitated, so we would go to the parks early in the morning for just a few attractions, and then head back to the resort. We wouldn’t do any of the evening shows, as the loud fireworks would really upset him. We would probably eat most of our meals in our room…eating is a VERY tactile experience for him (read: he eats with his hands, and the table and he are a mess beyond compare at the end of the meal).

With all that said, has anyone ever traveled to WDW with a profoundly autistic teenager? Can you share any tips? I welcome your advice…thanks!


Being a teen can I assume that he’s in Life Skill’s as well as ESYP? If so, what do his teacher’s do to calm him when he stim’s throughout the day? I’d talk with them on some recomendations as every (Aus) child is different. Here’s a site i’ve found helpful: Autism | picture symbols | Healing Thresholds | Connecting Community and Science to Heal Autism
I work in the public schools with Autistic children aged from 5-10. When some came in they had the same eating habits you mentioned. We’ve worked hard on that one since they go on monthy CBI’s and have to eat in public. If he communicates with PECS I would definitely bring those along on the trip to help find out what he wants to do as well as when he’s had enough.


My nephew is Autistic and I have taken him 2 times so far with me. The only tip I have is to get the disability pass from guest service. You can use the FP lines incase of a “meltdown”


My son is 6 and has Autism. We will be going in ablout two weeks. Our plan is to do the same things that we do while not on vacation. My son also eats with his hands and takes a really long time to eat (he seems to like to check everything out instead of eating). So we will not change what we do there from here. We always orders foods that is fine to eat with your hands (i.e. Fries, Burgers, chicken strips). He also gets over stimulated, so we are ready for one parent to take him away while the other is with DD who is 10.

We also are planning to go to Daytona and stay on the beach for a day and an half in the middle of the trip to give him a break for it all.

I know that my kid is only 6 and with a teen it is completely different but I hope that our plans might find a way to help you think of some different things that you two can do. I’m sure the trip will be enjoyable and he will love it.


I would recommend the Passporter Open Mouse, its a guide book for all kinds of special challenges, and Deb’s Unofficial Walt Disney World Vacation Information Guide - WDW Planning Guide - Walt Disney World has an entire section on visiting the world with a special needs child.


Thank you all so much for your assistance…much appreciated!