Photo courtesy of Andrew Poole

One of the few disappointments we had with our family trip to Walt Disney World last September was that Bill and I missed out on a lot of the more grown-up activities and events. The kids were too young to be on their own, and we didn’t really investigate Disney’s in-room childcare or activity centers. Honestly, outside of close family, we’ve had trouble finding sitters that really worked well with our kids. The average high school or college kid gets overwhelmed fast when faced with four young kids – then add the fact that two of them have autism spectrum disorders and don’t always react to situations as you’d expect, and things don’t always go well.

Recently, I spoke with a representative of Kid’s Nite Out, Inc., the official childcare provider for Disney resorts, about their ability to handle kids with autism. What I found out surprised me: they have no problem taking special needs kids. When I explained that I had not one, but two spectrum kids, (plus one with food allergies and a toddler) I expected to hear a deep breath, and perhaps hold music as the person who answered the phone found a manager to explain to me that I was completely out of my mind to think I could find a babysitter qualified to handle my mix of kids. Instead, the individual I spoke to took my request in stride, and I got the distinct impression that she’d heard this story before, and that it was just part of their business.

When you make a reservation, they’ll ask about the specific accommodations and needs each child has, then match up your family with a sitter with the right mix of education, training and background to handle your child(ren)’s needs. When the sitter arrives, they bring age (and ability) appropriate activities so the kids have something new and exciting to do while Mom and Dad have some much-needed time off.

You can contact Kids Nite Out, Inc. at 800-696-8105.