Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

Oceaneer Club: appropriate for special needs kids?

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Another reader wanted to know if her 9-year-old developmentally delayed daughter would be OK in the ship's Oceaneer Club, a child-friendly oasis supervised by youth counselors and open to children between the ages of 3-10.

I can virtually guarantee your child will have a blast here. The counselors I talked to said they've had a child with no verbal skills and confined to a wheelchair partake in the activities, making cupcakes, etc. They've had children with autism in the club, too. While they can't promise one-on-one attention, the counselors (many of whom have training with special needs kids) clearly target their attention to the kids who look like they need it most. The Oceaneer Club and adjoining Lab have a bunch of different rooms and activities, so kids end up gravitating to what they like most. I had a hard time getting my niece to leave.

The reader mentioned she's bringing her child's Certified Nursing Assistant with her, and wondered if the CNA would be allowed to stay with the child in the club. The answer: yes.

She's going to love it. I can almost guarantee it.

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Would the Dream allow an 11 year old who has mild autism and is socially immature to participate in the Oceaneer Lab since she would relate better to 9 and 10 year olds than 11 - 13 year olds? This is a big deal for us so we're hoping an exception can be made. We thought the ages would be up to 12 as in other Disney ships.

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on January 21, 2011 9:09 AM.

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