Traveling with Children with Other Special Needs

Traveling with Children with Other Special Needs | Traveling with Autistic Children

If you've traveled to Walt Disney World with a child who has special needs, please drop us a line using our feedback form. We currently only have info on finding a sitter for a child who is fed with a G-tube into the stomach:

Cindy H. from Colorado asked:

I've been searching for any advice/tips for parents who need childcare for kids who have special medical needs? I've called Fairy Godmothers, Disney themselves as well as placing a call over to Give the Kids the World for any tips on finding a childcare provider to come to the room and watch a 3 year old little girl who is fed via a g-tube.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions on where I might call next?

Here are some of our reader suggestions:

From Kari E: Try a nursing pool that would have trained LPN's or RN's that would feel comfortable with the situation. I am not saying that this would be cheap by any means, but I know that a friend of mine is very ill at the moment and pregnant and being fed at home via a G-tube, she has a nurse that stops by each day to check on her and the G-tube. A Certified Nursing Assistant may be able to do it as well.

From Kelly D.: I used to work for one of the KinderCares on Disney property. Have you spoken to the KinderCare Sitter Service? I know that they will come to your room to watch children but I am not sure if they will serve children with special needs.

From Kimmie: I'm in the Ormond Beach area — our local phone book has a few resources I thought might be a place to start searching.

Arcadia Health Care — 1 (386)-255-9494

Halifax Home Health — 1 (386)-322-4700

American Home Companions has hourly services and they can be reached
toll free at 1 (800)-285-3836

Childcare Resource & Referral Services — 1 (800)-443-3262

From Theresa C.: I have an oxygen-dependent son but did not require childcare while I was down there. With the G-tube you have insurance/liability issues that come
into play. I have three suggestions.

1) Phone the local childrens' hospital, Florida Children’s Hospital, and see if they can reccomend someone or some place. For more information, call 407/553-KIDS or toll free, 1-800-553-KIDS.

2) The Make a Wish Foundation may be help and/or refer someone as well. Their email address is:

3) Visiting Nursing Association (VNA) may be able to help you out and/or point you in the right direction.

Also make sure you stop by guest services to pick up alternative access pass for disabled quests. The MK seems to be the most friendly about issuing these passes.

From Kathy B.: You could try these resources:

UCP of Tampa Bay, Inc.
2215 E. Henry Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33610
Email: [email protected]
(813)239-1179 (813)-237-3091- FAX

ARC Brevard, Inc.
1110 S. Hickory
Melbourne,FL 32901
Email: [email protected]
(321)722-5350 (321)722-5352-FAX

From Cheryl H.: Here are a couple of organizations that may be able to point you in the right direction of someone who could help you. You would probably feel more comfortable with a nurse, I assume.

Phone: (407) 975-2288

Another route to go would be the Parish Nurse. Lots of churches sponsor a nurse for help and support with their parish and the community. Maybe one of the larger churches in Orlando would offer their nurse for you. Here's the number and address of the Catholic Archdiocese in Orlando:

Diocese of Orlando
421 E. Robinson
PO Box 1800
Orlando, FL 32802-1800
Phone: (407) 246-4800
Fax: (407) 246-4942

Other churches offer Parish Nurse resources but I thought this might be one of the larger ones with lots of information. If you feel more comfortable, contact your own denomination's Orlando headquarters and maybe one of the church members there who is a nurse will be recommended by a local pastor. Call your church office and they will know how to get in touch with the local or national offices of your denomination.

From Melissa: I have hired student nurses as babysitters. Student nurses should be comfortable with special medical needs and would hopefully charge a somewhat more
reasonable fee than a medical professional. I would recommend that Cindy call the nursing education department of a college in the Orlando area and explain her situation, asking if an instructor would give the names and phone numbers of a few students who
might be interested in helping out and earning a little extra money.

From Renee H.: The University of Central Florida, located in Orlando, has a College of Health and Public Affairs which includes Nursing.

Health and Public Affairs Phone : (407) 823-2406
Nursing Department Phone : (407) 823-2744
(unsure if "nursing department" means "school of nursing" so I included both phone numbers)

Have you thought of contacting the Celebration Hospital? I know a lot of nurses moonlight and you'd probably feel comfortable going out alone, knowing your child is being cared for by someone with medical training.

A few years ago my son came down with a violent flu very suddenly in the park. He dehydrated quickly and we went to Celebration. I can't say enough about them. They were very helpful really helped us through a scary time.

T. Watry RN: I would suggest calling the hospital, Orlando Regional Healthcare Home Healthcare departments or Social Services:

St. Cloud 407-422-2080 ext. 2811 (home health)
Sand Lake 407-351-8500 ext.8446 (home health)
Arnold Palmer Hosp. for Children 407-841-5111

Florida Hospital (Homecare)
Kissimmee 407-846-4343
Main Hospital 407-303-5600
(Guest Services: 888-303-9396) listed Ronald McDonald House may know about children's healthcare services.
Celebration 407-764-4000
Ask-a-Nurse 407-303-1700

If neither of these very large healthcare systems have private nursing services attached to their homecare divisions they should know the names and numbers of others. You will need to speak with the homecare or social service/ discharge planning departments. As I'm sure you are aware the ladies answering the phones are operators or volunteers, not healthcare providers.