Welcome to the first instalment of our new Q&A mini-series as part of World Autism Awareness Week. Over the next few days, we’ll delve into the travelling habits of SEND families and answer the question: How do other people do it?
Kate lives in Cornwall with her two boys, age nine and 10. Between them, the boys have autism, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder and suspected adhd.
When and where did you last go on holiday?
Tenerife in August 2019
What is the best family holiday you’ve been on?
Guernsey in August 2018
Why did it work?
We have been several times so the boys are familiar with it. It really helps that it’s very like home. The biggest bonus is being able to take our own car on the ferry, so that we can bring all of the comforts from home (both boys like familiar things) plus lots of food (for our very selective eater). The climate is also not dissimilar to Cornwall so I don’t have to worry about excessive heat, which is quite important when you have kids with sensory issues.
How do you decide where to go on holiday?
I won’t go anywhere where the travel will be excessive (asd/adhd on a long haul flight would be far too challenging for us) This is probably my main consideration. We also always go with family because I’m a single parent so I need the support (and the grown up company in the evenings when the kids are in bed).
What’s the biggest challenge for you on holiday?
Food! I have one very selective eater, and one fairly selective eater. I always panic that they won’t be able to eat anything so we end up taking lots with us.
What’s the one thing you always pack for a flight?
Technology for the kids to play on. We wouldn’t survive without.
What’s your top tip for going on a long journey?
Bring lots of snacks and lots of things to keep the kids entertained. Be prepared that it’s probably not going to be very relaxing.
What’s your favourite holiday memory?
Queuing to get on the ferry to Guernsey in 2018 and watching my boys and their cousins playing together and being very excited, whilst standing and chatting to my dad. He sadly passed away last year so I’m glad we all managed a holiday together before he died.
What place is at the top of your bucket list?
Disneyland Paris. The boys would love it, I’m hoping to save up and take us there.
What’s your top travel tip for a family with additional needs who is planning their first holiday?
Self catering for us is a must, that way we can stick to our own schedules and routines. We wouldn’t cope well if we were in a hotel.
You can find Kate on Facebook @thepassableparent