Enter the Ugly Foe of the Amusement Park – Your Child’s Trauma
Your foster – adoptive family have been looking forward to going to Universal Studios Orlando for weeks – maybe even months. You have gotten each other excited about the rides and things you want to see in the park. You’re especially stoked to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
What happens when you finally get to Universal?
- You over exert yourselves trying to see as much as possible
- Your senses are bombarded to the limit
- The extreme Florida heat
- Bumping into crowds constantly
- The constant visual stimulation around you
All of these points will make any person fatigued. It only affects a child from a traumatic past all the more. I remember quite a few trips where I, Darren, just BARELY kept my cool because I was tired, thirsty, and hungry – my blood sugars were too low. This all affects any “normal” functioning person and can take you to the breaking point.
The issue worsens with our children because their brain chemistry looks different. Trauma has literally rewired things in their mind. Thus, when they suffer from the points from above, they’re fighting to stay under control even MORE SO than a person without a traumatic past.
Without an intervention a MELTDOWN is imminent.
A Quick Snack Goes A Long Way
In an online article, “Caught Between the Amygdala and a Hard Place,” by Karyn Purvis, PhD & David Cross, PhD, it is suggested that a parent can help their foster adoptive kiddos succeed with good behavior by providing proper nourishment every two hours.
“…In our [Purvis & Cross’] therapeutic summer camp and other interventions, we feed the children every two hours, to keep their blood sugar stable. Simply by adapting their food intake, we often see significant shifts in behavior.”
Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross suggest in the article that foods that are low in sugar content be given and give the examples of turkey, rich grains, whole grains, and lentils.
Personally, our family has witnessed several situations where melt downs were in the beginning stages in the park. When my wife and I notice this occurrence, we stop everything to take inventory of when the last drink/food break happened during the day. Usually, we have gone more than two hours without hydrating with water or getting some substantial food. Taking fifteen to thirty minutes to meet these needs have helped our family to stomp out many started meltdowns and enjoy Universal Orlando longer into the day.
Cornish Pastie at Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando
Cornish Pasties are a snack that are sold in the Diagon Alley area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They can be purchased at The Hopping Pot in Carkitt Market of Diagon Alley.
What is a Cornish Pastie?
- Potato crust pastries stuffed with seasoned ground beef and vegetables
- One order includes 3 pasties
Many people want to grab the Butterbeers and chocolate frogs for a snack. However, those sugary treats are not going to stabilize blood sugars. Actually, on their own they’re going to spike sugars (helping for a bit) and then quickly crash. WARNING. Meltdown city!
The Hopping Pot’s Cornish Pastie treats have more solid nutrition that is going to stabilize sugars without the crash. This means you’re giving your kiddo’s brain fuel so they can keep it together while dealing with the sensory bombardment they are getting all day long.
Note: We are NOT advising families to stay away from the sweets. Just make sure you’re getting some substantial nourishment every couple of hours and stay hydrated.
How can we help?
We have other tips and advice for visiting Universal Studios Orlando with foster – adoptive kids. Email us with any other questions. Also, let us know other advice that you have for families visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Read Dr. Purvis’ and Dr. Cross’ full article, “Caught Between the Amygdala and a Hard Place,” here: