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Q&A: Child with Down Syndrome in Theme Park?


I have a child with Down Syndrome who is going to Disneyland. His mom would appreciate some suggestions to help him go on rides with loud music and vibrations. He avoids these activities during his treatment sessions. Can you offer any suggestions?


I’m not sure there is much that will help if this issue is already being addressed in therapy, and he still avoids these types of activities. In general, it sounds like he is OVER-responsive to sound and vibration. If so, give him the opportunity to engage in red-arrow (calming) types of input before attempting this type of ride. Here are some things that may be helpful while at Disneyland:

  • Allow him to use an iPod to listen to calming or preferred music (or even white noise. An app for this called Sleep Machine provides an assortment of white noise.
  • Pressure garments worn under his clothing may be helpful and should help him to tolerate the vibration and movement better. As an option, let him wear UnderArmour instead of other clothing.
  • Deep pressure from the parent through his shoulders while standing in line.
  • Provide oral input such as a lollipop or drinking water through a resistive valve. I love Camelbak water bottles for this purpose.
  • A favorite fidget toy attached to a belt loop can provide a sense of security.

I hope that helps! Please let me know how it goes!

Best Wishes,