Too special to queue? ADHD children get theme park pass

28th August 2009 at 01:00
Opinion divided as tourism bosses give out priority wristbands

Hyperactive children and those with attention-deficit disorders can now queue-jump at Britain's biggest attractions because they cannot cope with the stress of waiting for their turn.

ADHD experts have praised the attitudes of tourism bosses, many of whom now give anyone with the condition a special wristband so that they can sail ahead of the crowds with their friends.

But some teachers have criticised the scheme, saying it would be better for the children to be taught how to wait and that patience is something they are trying to encourage in the classroom (see panel).

Those with ADHD, which was recognised as a psychiatric condition only 15 years ago, are now given passes in most theme parks in the UK, and many abroad, if they can provide proof that they have the condition, such as a doctor's letter.

Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of the National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service, believes many schools now operate a pass system to avoid tantrums.

"Children with ADHD are very impulsive and just can't cope in a queue or when there is a delay in gratification," she said.

"I know many primary schools let them go ahead at dinner time - and if it stops scenes, what's the problem?

"The fact teachers are criticising this shows how much ignorance there is in schools about the condition and how they have a preconceived idea of what it is and believe they can manage it on their own without training.

"We often see how this doesn't work, and parents then take cases to the High Court."

The Disability Discrimination Act puts a duty on attractions to accommodate the needs of everyone.

People with ADHD have a 30 per cent "maturity lag" and do not start to catch up until after the age of about 26.

Bosses at Thorpe Park in Surrey will not disclose how many people have applied for the wristbands.

A spokeswoman said: "Any guest that can provide a (Department for Work and Pensions) letter or a letter from their doctor that describes their illness or disability and states that they cannot stand in a queue line is provided with a priority wristband.

"The operator will give them a time to come back that reflects the length of the normal queue line, meaning they avoid standing for a prolonged period.

She added: "Thorpe Park has no control over guests' diagnosis, and if we are presented with the correct paperwork, we will provide our visitors with the relevant priority wristband."

TES FORUMS

`If you can't wait, do without'

noja

Part of having ADHD should be teaching them to live in the world as we know it. They cannot queue-jump in later life in the post office, therefore they need to be taught this!

doglover

Why do autisticADHD children have to learn to live by our rules? Does the blind person, the deaf, the paraplegic, the diabetic? Why not the autistic?

lizzieg

Can you imagine the number of children who would want to be identified as ADHD to get to the front of the queue! This makes the world a harder place for children really suffering from ADHD and other conditions to be taken seriously?

ilovesooty

If they can't wait, they should do without. Perhaps if they're so severely afflicted, the environment just isn't suitable for them.

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