Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Skip to the End of the Line
In another Storyland-related ramble, we were in line at Guest Services to get season passes. It's about an hour and a half from home, and we go three or four times a year. Season passes are less than three times the price of admission... so we bother.

We had to wait in line, and watched the family ahead of us get their passes. "Family," in this case, equalling Mom, Dad and a baby small enough not to need shoes. You don't need to pay admission until a kid is four, so it was just the parents getting their passes, and I guess when my kids were that small I didn't think they needed amusement parks to be, well, amused. Then again, now, at 7 and 2, I still don't think they need it, I just think they're able to appreciate and enjoy it more than, say, a paper bag on the living room floor, now that they're older.

Anyway, the family behind us in line seemed like a pretty average bunch: two parents and two boys. They waited their turn, and as we were leaving, I heard the mother explain to the Guest Services minion, "My son has ADHD. He can't stand in line. We need a pass to let us skip to the end at all the rides." And the minion handed one right over, no questions asked.

Which raises all sorts of musings in my poor, sunscreen-addled head. Really? ADHD makes him unable to stand in line? Really? I understand very well that ADHD can impact one's executive functioning, the ability to control impulses and think things through, but this was a Monday on the first open weekend of the year. The park was very quiet; I never stood in line for more than 5-10 minutes at a time and on several of the rides we could just stay on and loop around more than once. So, then, if this kid is so severely disabled that he can't stand in line for no time at all, how are we to feel about his ability to behave appropriately on the rides? Maybe that looooong uphill climb to the top of the log flume will prove to be just too much for him, and he'll stand up and get hurt. Something.

Lest I sound totally unsympathetic, I can come up with several circumstances in which skipping to the end of the line makes total sense. I saw one family, no dad present, in which the mother was in a wheelchair - so she would lead the two or three kids with her to the exit-door, show her pass to the employee, and the kids would hop on from there. Makes total sense to me, because she can't weave through the entrance lines and she needs to keep track of her kids, so, fine. I can also see a child with a physical health problem needing not to stand still in the sun but able to handle the ride, or someone with autism not being able to maintain personal boundaries and control but being able to enjoy the ride itself and therefore needing to skip the stand-and-wait part.

But ADHD? Really? The kid was able to stand in line behind both my family and the one ahead of us to wait to get the pass, and he never whined or fidgeted or did any of the other sorts of hyperactive/impulsive/inattentive things that I'm used to looking for in ADHD assessment (which I did, professionally, for two years).

I'm skeptical. At the very least, my hey-not-fair sense wants them to have to provide some form of documentation, a note from the doctor or similar, to reassure me that this is not just a case of the parents not feeling like standing in line. Because it really kind of felt like that.