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Autism and holidays

(15 Posts)
VintageCarrotTop Fri 17-Oct-08 12:00:05

Hi our 3 year old boy has many traits form the spectrum, and is currently being awaiting assessment to get to the bottom of his behaviour. We went on holiday earlier this year, and it was awful, he hummed all the time couldn't settle, and was very distressed. We decided to get a loan to buy a little wooden chalet on the site, and now we go back regularly for a break. DS copes so well as it is familiar to him.
We want to now use the chalet as a holday getaway for other families with kids who have autism, and are thinking of becoming a charity so we can raise funds for the upkeep costs and to offer free breaks for families on a regular basis whose children like to go to places that are familiar.
What do you think? Good idea or not, or any hints and tips that may help. Thanks, Lisa

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 12:04:16

Sounds a good idea, although I think you could charge.

The same thing done on a bigger scale is the Thomas Centre near Louth in Lincolnshire.

Will you be offering to all across the spectrum, some kids with autism can be pretty destructive and need lots of locks to stop them letting themselves out of the house or falling out a window.

(Just thinking of my own son, who at 3 was an utter darling and very easy, but at 9 will escape anything that isn't double locked and although he's not particularly destructive climbs anything - and therefore breaks stuff accidentally).

mumof2222222222222222boys Fri 17-Oct-08 12:07:33

Hi I don't know a lot about autism although my DNephew is mildly autistic. It sounds like a lovely idea in principle, but given autistic children generally like familiarity, wouldn't there be problems unless people went regularly adn not just as a one off holiday? Perhaps I am missing something?

mumof2222222222222222boys Fri 17-Oct-08 12:08:26

Ooops, I see that is the idea. blush

VintageCarrotTop Fri 17-Oct-08 12:08:57

I was thinking of keeping things very simple, non breakable items, etc, locks I never thought of because I haven't experienced that side of it yet - although saying that, DS does escape and run around the neighbourhood half naked!!!! He is 3 at the moment and we never know what mood he is going to be in.

VintageCarrotTop Fri 17-Oct-08 12:09:55

lol mum of 2, yes i was going to make sure they went regularly.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 12:15:19

DH is a lawyer who sets up charities. I'll ask him tonight whether there are any obvious legal issues that leap out at him.

pagwatch Fri 17-Oct-08 12:21:51

MY DH is in insurance. I will talk to him too. You may find that if you effectively 'market' this as a place for children with ASD then you will place a requirement upon yourself to meet all the associated safety needs of any children with ASD using it.
You would probably need a risk assessment and meet safety standards or be vulnerable to being responsible for a child being injured on your premisis ( above and eyond usual liabilty I mean).

I think it is a lovely idea to but would charge to cover associated costs

countingto10 Fri 17-Oct-08 13:40:58

I have 4 ds's, 2 with ASD.  Holidays have been a nightmare for us.  We have tried most things except going abroad (the thought of the airport has put us off).  Centreparcs didn't work, neither did a fixed caravan on a site or a "luxury family hotel".  In the end I decided we needed a home from home and booked a 4 bedroomed, 2 bathroomed cottage in Devon with an enclosed garden and a private indoor swimming pool (which could be booked for private use) together with a indoor playroom and large field with playground equipment.  It was bliss - my DH commented that it was the first time he felt relaxed on holiday.  It cost a forture thought - £1800 for a week self-catering.You say the cabin is on a site - does it have an enclosed garden or is is open-planned because 2 of my DSs are "runners".I think it is great what you are planning to do - DH and I always say if we had the money we would do something similar as it has taken us a lot of bloody awful holidays to find one that works!!!

Buckets Fri 17-Oct-08 19:00:27

Don't think you need to make it free as most people would be delighted to pay a low-mid range price if it was really ideal. That would pay for upkeep and as a charity you could apply for grants to subsidise the tariff. Guess you'd need proof eg GP letter or DLA letter or you'd just get every Mumsnetter wanting a cheap holiday.

Peachy Fri 17-Oct-08 19:04:17

Souns lke a good idea to me, I'd suggest a chat with the NAS first?

We do something similar- we have a tent that ds1 and ds3 (we have 4 boys, 2 with asd- but I'm not countingtoten wink) know well and find that using it enable us to get to different aplces as the familiarity works well. It works slightly better with ds1 than ds3 have to say but we are grateful

bubblagirl Fri 17-Oct-08 19:22:22

sounds great idea my ds has ASD and havent attempted a holiday as such yet but would if there were schemes like this going as you would be less anxious about the holiday then

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:34:09

Mentioned to DH and his main point was don't pursue this without proper advice (which this is not!) - the intended charity would need to be a company limited by guarantee (personal liability of the trustees issues) and pagwatch is right on the vulnerability point - you would need CRB checks and policies etc as trustees; be able to demonstrate anticipated income and funding; have a risk assessment policy etc. Don't let this put you off, just don't enter into it lightly - the Charity Commission's website is really helpful (under the publications section) on these sorts of points.

Now if I was in your shoes, and having listened to dh sucking his cheeks and being all serious I would be tempted just to rent it out as a normal cottage. But advertise in places like the autism file, or let people know via the NAS, perhaps offer a discount for families with an autistic child. Personally I'm more than happy to pay for a holiday, but I'd like to be able to ring someone and ask 'do you have double glazing, do the windows lock?, do the doors lock with a removeable key?, is there an enclosed outside space etc etc but it's really hard to have that conversation with someone with no experience of autism. And if I found somewhere that worked I would be tempted to go back!

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:43:37

Oh on pagwatch's insurance point one insurer tried to charge ds1's nursery (many years ago) extra for having him. The manager got in a strop and went elsewhere. It's definitely something to mention to your insurers though I think.

Shylily Thu 23-Oct-08 08:51:07

Perhaps you could have the option to pay (for those who could afford) and a granted holiday for those who can't? Or a sliding scale of contribution dependent on income?

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