Although we will be packing our stroller, Daredevil will be wanting to walk and explore solo. While he is getting great at following verbal instructions, staying near and holding hands, there's always that one time you fear he'll wander, refuse to listen, run. In an effort to let him walk on his own - holding our hands 99.9% of the time - we're spending a lot of time in stores, malls, zoos, etc letting him walk solo and asking him verbally to follow instructions. He's actually done remarkably well! We've been doing this in a variety of settings and building up his (and our) confidence.
We've also ordered the Buddy Tag. Daredevil will have a bracelet with a bluetooth chip in it that will alert my phone when he's further than 40 feet away and direct me to his current location.
We're also ordering temporary tattoos and stickers with our cell phone number listed. Then we'll apply it to his forearm and backside of his shirt every morning we go into the parks as a back-up plan in case he does get away from us. It may be overkill, but I feel more secure and prepared having a few failsafes in place.
Since Daredevil is on the spectrum, with a note from his physician and therapist, we can get a Guest Assistant Card. This card will allow us to wait for our ride/experiences in a different, less crowded location. It won't lessen our wait but it'll lessen his frustrations. If your child has special needs, this is a must. I'm hoping this will alleviate some overstimulation.
Daredevil's senior therapist and I will be working together to create a couple things that should help us on our trip. 1. We will be making some social stories for Daredevil so he will know more of what to expect. He is really great at understanding first, then but when there are several steps involved he gets a bit confused. The social story show the airplane, hotel, parks, etc. It will help Daredevil to visually understand what the steps will be for his days while on vacation and thus out of routine. 2. The second thing we're working on is a Disney activity "menu" that we'll take with us. The folder will have pictures of each of the Disney parks, Universal Studios, Downtown Disney and the Disney beach/pools. That way, we can use it like a menu for Daredevil to select his choices for the day. Daredevil has mastered requesting using 1-2 word utterances, but sometimes it is hard to understand what he's requesting so this should alleviate some problems and miscommunications.
It may seem like a lot of work, maybe overdoing it, but a little preparation could make our time away a little more enjoyable. And, let me tell you, this boy deserves every ounce of downtime and enjoyment he can get!