Autistics and Children at Disney etc.

----- issues

Predictability, time as an abstract concept, anxiety cycling, inactivity, social miscomprehension of another neurotype's social rules, intensive or immediate non-autistic reciprocity vs. extensive or distant autistic reciprocity, transitions where transitioning seems stuck or slow, forms of dysregulation and not diagnosis as the deciding factor for special queuing arrangements.

----- complexity

Queueing is one of those simple things that is actually complex.

Where does the line start or end, can it be seen where it leads to, how much space do I keep between me and others, do we stand in line or side-by-side as a family, how fast is it moving, what if it closes before we get to the front, what do I do while standing, how long will this take, why are we all doing this, why all the noise and crowding, why stand, which way do I face, how do I know when to move, what if I need to pee, why are some getting special access before me...

----- two extremes

If a child knows what to do while standing in a line, a milestone that might come a fair bit later for some autistics, then there is less likelihood they will step out of line, wonder what the hell is happening, or become dysregulated by expectations becoming 'stuck'.

Over Christmas I watched one relative, a youngster, with a hand-held game, not only remain in line for the first time ever, not only seem to others to be patient, but also fail to move forward when the line did, as other children went around them.  I.e. the opposite. He was not in the slightest phased by being overtaken when he twigged-on to what had happened.

----- DAS

It is great that some qualify for special treatment (DAS) at Disney.  It is one of those rare accommodations offered to autistics that I can actually imagine a significant number of non-disabled seeking to abuse, unlike the Sunflower Lanyard at airports, or Sensory Boxes at stadiums, etc.

(In the UK, some theme parks will demand to see a PIP letter or Doctor's Note. In New Zealand, a Sunflower Lanyard left-over from a flight will likely be accepted.  All places with significant queues and re-queueing should these days allow paper-based scheduling of access in place of standing in a line.)

So often was DAS abused at the 5 month mark by March 2014 that the rules were modified so that now it is for Guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to disability, without providing priority or immediate access to experiences, but allowing Guests to request a return time for a specific experience that is comparable to the current standby wait.  Queueing without quite Queueing.  The offer is no longer diagnosis dependent "oh, my child is autistic", but now requires specific additional information about what untoward things might occur if a particular child was made to queue, how long they CAN queue for, etc. Symptoms not Diagnosis. Needs not Label.

So the key becomes to have in mind ideas of how to satisfactorily occupy time until reaching the head of this notional queue. The Fantasyland Theatre is the most spacious and 'out-door-sy' venue that also provides distraction, potentially a great filler-in therefore.  Bringing forward a snack time might also help.

Waiting with predictability is certainly better than queueing without certainty... and in a way is fair to all Guests.

Items such as ear defenders, tech devices, sunglasses, sensory objects, or a book might help further.

----- incomprehensibility

Some autistics pay little regard to social hierarchy, social cues, social small talk, social turn-taking, social-reciprocity, indeed social-anything... as it is not THEIR social, or they are not shaped for social.

Many have had their preferences and position in respect of everything this world has to offer... trashed by others without a single thought.

The same autistics may also be blind as to a person's gender, colour, income, size, etc. 

It's a life trade-off thingy to be autistic and different, or to be the opposite.  Later on, the difference may be handy when others seek indiscriminate (no discrimination) assistance from an autistic civil servant, or to be treated in adherence to stated rules by an autistic judge.  But right now it might prove not so great when a child's favoured seat at the railway station is - just on this day - occupied by some random other unwilling to shift along, or a long queue beckons on a hot and busy day.

----- teaching

If you are going to teach a child about queueing to see an attraction or to await a bus or about delayed gratification - or anything about why it is good to wait and how to wait... ensure you are doing ONLY that, i.e. action/consequences, and not slipping back into the olden days reward/punishment approach that harms by divorcing matters that are linked, by manipulating instead of nurturing, by masking reality over being honest and plain.  Ensure you remind your child of things they are great at, as very few weaknesses are not accompanied by such strengths, no matter how less explicitly they get spelt-out by others or manifested by the individual concerned.