Even though my kids have ASD does not mean they were going to miss out on some of the fun at Disney. And even though my kids have ASD there are also typical kids who have just a big of fear of characters as mine.
If you haven’t done any research on a trip to Disney with a ASD or special needs child, I suggest you do so before you go. I learned a lot of tips that helped make our vacation the best and also help me set my expectations. Of course at first day dream I expected every day to go like this- kids waking up, having breakfast with Mickey and the gang. Happy smiles on everyone. Just picture a Disney commercial. And then I started researching and reading blogs a s forums where people kept telling me to lower my expectations or no matter what I wasn’t going to have a good time. So I readjusted my expectations and started thinking on ways to help my kids have the best time despite their ASD.
One of those things was the autograph books. My kids love books and looking at them to recall memories. They have impeccable memories. Which is why social stories work great for my kids. I figured if they didn’t themselves get a autograph, I would and attach a photo of the character with it. And since I’m all for repurposing what I had and being cost efficient I used what I had a home.
Here is a list of items I used.
Cardstock (works best if using a sharpies for signatures to not bleed through)
Cereal or USPS free mailing boxes
1 inch circle die cut
Fabric and scrapbook paper
Assembling was pretty easy. I cut the cardboard to the size I wanted. Used the hole punch to punch hole in the cardboard and cardstock then used the d-rings to bind it.
Next I dove into decorating. I gathers fabric scraps from my bin, ribbon and scrap book paper. Messed around with a design for a few minutes and when I found something I liked I glued it down with modge podge.
So I thought of a way to alert characters to the kids ASD in case the kids had a meltdown or acted “out of character” when waiting in line for a autograph.
I found this image on google and on the bottom I listed our phone number if lost. It explains some of the things ASD kids do. My hope was if our kids were acting out in a line if a character saw this they would be understanding.
Lastly I worked on the character pages themselves. I looked online to find ideas and can up with my own using what I had. I previously had purchased a 1 inch circle die cut for another project and saw the cute ears shape that was used to form other Disney characters. LOVE IT! So I made my own. I made sure I had a spot for a photo and a autograph. I also included all the main characters I assumed we would find. Lastly I added in blank pages for all those random characters we saw.