Traveling with Disabled Teen

Jan 7th, 2016, 11:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1
Traveling with Disabled Teen

My daughter is mentally retarded and in a wheelchair. She weighs almost 200 lbs so pushing her is an effort. She howls and can be loud. She needs to have her I pad with her (preferably with internet connectivity) at all times. We have no one to leave her with so she goes on all vacations with us. I have have an active healthy 9 year old daughter. Does anyone have ideas other than Disney World (we've been there 6 times!) for places we can go as a family? Hiking, dude ranches, white water rafting,etc. are out. I'm desperate to go somewhere new! Thanks
SallieMcG is offline  
Jan 7th, 2016, 02:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,783
That's a tough one, but I'm wondering if some kind of beach resort would work? I mean one with a pool area, also. I just know I've been to a nice hotel in Cancun that was on the beach, but also had a very nice pool/deck area and I'm sure someone could be on that deck area in a wheelchair watching, but the younger child could be going into the water either in the pool or on the beach. I've been to some places in the US in Florida with that setup, also. The only problem is her howling that is loud, and how you'd have to be concerned about accommodations where she wouldn't bother other guests as I'm sure the hotel would not like a guest who disturbed others.

But didn't you have that same problem at Disney World?

IN fact, dude ranches are not necessarily out for similar reasons -- in fact, they could be good as children often have their own programs, so your younger daughter could go to them on her own while you stayed with your other one, just sitting on the porch enjoying the view (that was the case in one I visited), or watching the lessons or whatever. In fact, the dude ranch I visited had some individual cabins which might be perfect regarding possible noise issues.

SO I'd look for some kind of vacation that had individual cabins perhaps, I would guess wifi is around in a lot of places now. I've been to some resorts that had individual cabins also with various activities at the resort (lake, game room, lodge, etc.). I've seen some inn type lodging in some places out west where there were individual cabins, also--around a national park or something, as I recall (I must have been in Oregon or Washington state, maybe around Mt Rainier).

Why do you think Disney World is any different from say a beach resort or a dude ranch in terms of your being able to do it? You aren't forced to ride horses at a dude ranch, you can do whatever you want, even if just relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Obviously hiking is out, I agree with that, and white water rafting.

If you have a partner to help with her, as it sounds you do, I think a dude ranch might work, actually, due to supervised programs for children where you can have your other daughter, and the possibility of individual cabins, and a casual atmosphere.

good luck
Christina is offline  
Jan 7th, 2016, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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My heart goes out to you. There may be some great ideas and options, but when you are in the situation, you may not have had the time or energy to persue them.

Do you drive to Disney or are you able to fly with your daughter? If flying is an option, I think there are many things open to you.

As to the wheel chair, there should be other places no more difficult than Disney. Do you need help getting her in and out of the wheelchair, etc? In and out of the car? To make reasonable rcommendations, it is important to know the level and kind of services you need.

Where is home base?

In some places there are good temporary homes for disabled children to give parents and other family members a respite from constant care. I assume you have looked into them, but maybe there are new ones.

You may not be able to leave her with anyone, but could you hire a caretaker to go with you on vacation to stay with her so you and your other daughter could have time together that is not focused on your retarded daughter? That would be so great for both you and the 9 year old.

Since your daughter can use the iPad and Internet, what other things or activities might Interest her?
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 7th, 2016, 10:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Newtome, Wow! Those are some great web sites. Hope they help the OP.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 8th, 2016, 02:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,341
First, I would talk to her MD about getting a companion-operated power wheelchair or power-assist wheelchair. There are power wheelchairs customized so that the controls are on the back and can be operated by the caregiver, rather than the person in the chair. Insurance should cover this. The thought that you are others are pushing this wheelchair all the time is upsetting to me.

Sometimes cities are surprisingly wheelchair-friendly with curb cuts, accessible hotels and restaurants. And they are often noisy enough such that her vocalizations would be less distressing to others. Another benefit is WiFi is widely available. Museums, sports venues, etc are also required to be accessible.

Washington, DC come first to mind - since the tourist areas and attractions are well-maintained, Federally-funded buildings are required to be accessible, and since admission is free to almost everything, you won't feel bad if you enter and have to leave after a relatively short time. Most Metro stations have elevators that actually work.

And while you are there - take her to visit your US Rep or Senator and advocate for better support services for children an adults with disabilities.
gail is offline  
Jan 8th, 2016, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
This, absolutely:

"And while you are there - take her to visit your US Rep or Senator and advocate for better support services for children an adults with disabilities."

And thanks to Gail for suggesting it (and Washington).
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 8th, 2016, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
". . . and since admission is free to almost everything, you won't feel bad if you enter and have to leave after a relatively short time."

Admission is free to the national museums, not the private ones like the Spy Museum or the Newseum. The various monuments and memorials won't set you back a penny. The Smithsonian-run sites around the Mall are also sans fee. As is the National Zoo - and that's a rarity for any town because most zoos have high admission costs (necessary to offset the care and feeding of the residents).
BigRuss is offline  
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