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Wholesome: Autistic Teen Is A Celebrity Among These Disney Park Characters

Left image shows an autistic teen interacting with Captain America at Disneyland. Right image shows Thomas with Disney characters Woody and Jessie.

Thomas is a 16-year-old autistic young man. His disabilities don’t limit his ability to enjoy life, and his dad ensures Thomas’ days are full of joy. One of his favorite activities is going to Disneyland. On their TikTok channel, managed by his dad, you will see hundreds of videos of Thomas interacting with various Disney characters at the park. The coolest thing about it is that almost all the actors portraying Disney characters greet Thomas by name!

The family also maintains an Instagram account where his dad has a section devoted to questions about this wonderful young man. Thomas is mostly nonverbal, using his own signs to convey his thoughts. While it is not conventional sign language, his dad understands the meanings behind most of Thomas’ signs. He wears noise-reducing headphones to limit his exposure to outside sounds. When Thomas is excited, he may flap his hands around rapidly in a motion called “stimming.” This is explained by his dad in an Instagram post. In many videos, you may notice that Thomas uses his hands to feel different textures on the costumes.

Thomas at Disney interacting with Dale.
Image from Instagram.

The characters treat Thomas like a special guest every time they see him, and their interactions are amazing. In the above clip, Captain America addresses Thomas as an old friend. They carry on a conversation and enjoy a bit of camaraderie. Thomas was fascinated with the Black Panther costume when they first met five years ago, and the texture still fascinates him.


5 years later Thomas is still just as intrigued by Black Panther’s costume as he was the very first time he met him #autism #autismawareness #autismacceptance #specialneeds #disney #disneyparks #disneyland #disneytiktok #disney100 #blackpanther #wakandaforever #fyp #foryoupage

♬ DadSocial – Mason Smith

Understanding Disney’s Commitment To Children Like Thomas

It is unusual to see people dealing with special needs children in such a special way. This speaks to the training Disney character actors receive and their devotion to ensuring a great “Disney experience” for all visitors. The blanket term “autism” covers a wide spectrum, from very mild to severe. Each autistic person is different and requires flexibility during interactions.

Watching so many different character actors share their day with Thomas is incredible. They all seem to know his name because they remember him from past trips. He definitely gets the celebrity treatment at the park! Thomas has been going to Disneyland and meeting characters since he was young.

If you are curious about autism, please check out Thomas’s account on Instagram. His dad has compiled a wealth of information explaining many aspects of autism, including stimming and interactions with people. There are also YouTube videos with some of Thomas’s interactions at Disneyland.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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