School holidays can get a bit overwhelming, particularly if you’ve got more than a week to cover, but I’m going to show you how to make an epic plan so you’ll never be wondering what to do.
Like most of these things, preparation is key. I’m a big fan of stationery and list-making but you could easily do this on your phone too.
If your child struggles with crowds and sensory issues, autism-friendly sessions can be a lifesaver. When done well, these sessions can be the difference between an awesome day out and a disaster for families of children who need extra support.
Before each school holiday I spend an evening researching SEN/autism-friendly sessions happening near where we live.
I write down all the days of the week and slot the sessions into whatever day they are happening. We don’t go to SEN sessions every day but I like to have a list to refer back to if I’m stuck for something to do on a particular day.
If you live in and around the Leeds area, I’ve done this list for you with my blog post: The Ultimate Guide To Autism-Friendly Days Out in West Yorkshire For February Half Term (2022)
For those of you who live elsewhere, I’ve broken my process down into steps so you can put together your own list:
Start with the cinema if your kids like films. Check the Dimensions website for details of all the autism-friendly screenings happening at the cinema chains over half term. Write them all down.
Look at your local museums’ websites to see if they have any SEN sessions over half term. Also take a look at the Autisms in Museums website which has details of early bird and SEN sessions all over the UK.
Trampoline parks and soft play centres often have autism-friendly sessions, even in the holidays. Have a look at their websites or give them a call if you can’t find details. They aren’t always advertised.
4. Check Facebook
Check the Facebook pages of local disability organisations and charities. They will often advertise sessions that aren’t on websites.
5. Ask other parents
Ask other parents if they know of any sessions happening during half term. They could be parents you know in person or parents in a local disability/autism Facebook group.
6. Google search
Do a google search using terms like “autism-friendly” “SEN”, “additional needs” and “early bird” to see if anything comes up that you’ve missed.
7. Save the list
Don’t forget to save your list with website links somewhere so that next holiday it will take you half the time to put together.
Of course there are lots of places without the SEN label that are suitable for children with additional needs. However, sometimes it’s handy to have a list of sessions specifically highlighted as autism or SEN-friendly for those days when you feel you need some extra support.
- Do you like going to autism-friendly/SEN sessions or do you prefer to go to attractions at other times? I’d love to know in the comments below.
- If you enjoyed reading How to make an epic plan for the school holidays, why not read: How To Plan For A Successful Day Out With Children Who Have Additional Needs
My only issue with autism friendly session is they tend to be really early morning. We barely make it to school by 9, limited chance of getting to the soft play by then haha. But it is great that they are happening more regularly as I know it can be a lifeline x
That’s so true and it’s a tricky one. Trying to get everyone up and out first thing in the morning is a challenge that I can’t face sometimes. The cinema sessions are usually quite good times though.
This is really helpful, thanks Lizzie! Ad such a good reminder to save the list… how many times have we had to start from scratch because we didn’t do that!! 🙂
Yes, I’ve learned the hard way on that too!
Thanks I need to start being more prepared. I always miss SEN sessions because I never write down when they are. Some great suggestions here.
I know, it’s not usually on the list of priorities, is it?