Let’s face it, holidays can be a bit tricky when you’ve got children on the autistic spectrum. Working out where to go, worrying about how suitable it will be, as well as how to get there and how to prepare the kids, can all seem a bit daunting.
However, everyone needs a holiday from time to time and families of children with autism and other additional needs in particular can benefit from some time to relax (if you’re lucky) or at least a change of scenery.
Holidays are a good way to press the reset button, get out of the daily grind of home life and open up your child’s horizons. The charity Ambitious About Autism says “An imagination that struggles with flexibility can be fed by new experiences; a person afraid of new things can benefit from some practice encountering new things and finding they aren’t actually that bad”. And I wholeheartedly agree.
Many of us tend to focus on on travel logistics and forget the actual benefits a holiday might bring to their family as a whole and their child as an individual.
Some of the benefits include:
Bringing school subjects such as geography, history, maths, music and literature to life.
Exposure to diverse cultures. Suddenly your child can compare and contrast people’s daily lives and customs in different parts of the world.
Enhancing speech and language and social skills. Holidays increase opportunities for interacting with other people
Experiencing the world in different ways. Holidays can help you become more adventurous and try activities and food you would have never imagined ever considering.
Family bonding. At home, we’re often preoccupied with daily chores and rushing around. On holiday there are more opportunities to spend quality time together as a family, something that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Going on holiday can be more complicated when one or more members of the family has autism but with the right preparation, it’s possible for the whole family to have a fun and return home feeling, well if not relaxed then at least refreshed.
J and I loved travelling to new places before kids. We would book a flight to somewhere and then travel around the country for a couple of weeks, discovering new places, new food and new people. Since The Bears were born we’ve been away to Tenerife, Majorca and Germany as well as travelled around the UK.
However, with the boys now six and almost four, we’re feeling brave enough to step up a gear and embark on our most adventurous year to-date. Over the next few months we’re going on family holidays to Lapland and Holland.
Lapland is less than a month away and we’re in full preparation mode. Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking you through how we’re preparing for our trip including what to take and how to prepare the kids to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Do you enjoy go on holiday as a family with additional needs? Let me know in the comments below.
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If you’re planning a family holiday or looking for days out in the UK, don’t forget to sign up to my email list to receive exclusive news and top tips to help you prepare. You’ll also receive a FREE 10-page holiday activity book to help keep the kids occupied on journeys as a welcome gift.
Why not read: Our Most Successful Family Holiday