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Holiday with son with aspergers(16 Posts)
Hi our 8yr old has aspergers and we are going on holiday to France in 6 weeks. Have no idea what I was thinking when I booked it!! At the moment family life is really tough my dh can't cope with my DS so he has decided take a step back from parenting and my DS knows that daddy doesn't like him anymore so they aren't speaking to each other!! Things were no way as bad when I booked the holiday but my son is getting harder or I am running on empty from never getting a break -my patience is wearing thin. I used to be a fantastic mum to him but dont feel like that anymore as it is so hard to keep him calm anymore. I really don't want to go on this holiday anymore!! His main issue at the moment is time and if something is booked or arranged for a certain time if it changes or is early or late he goes into meltdown mode. He loves routine and likes everything just so. He is very quirky and is different to other 8 yr olds and although sometimes he will play with other kids he us quite happy doing his own quirky things. He goes into meltdown very easily if something is done different to how he expects and this is what I am scared about. We have done lots of talking about how flights can be delayed etc and how on holiday people may be loud and silly etc but I am so so scared of everything going wrong and being left in a foreign country with 2 kids. A year ago I could have coped but i feel so mentally exhausted at the moment I don't think I will cope. Any advice on any coping strategies??
Obviously the travelling will be the hardest to predict in terms of stressfull changes, once you are there I would stick to as many of his routines as you can mealtimes, bedtimes (if possible), etc.
Do you have other children? If not be led by him and allow him to take control of what he feels able to do and what he doesnt!
Build in breaks in between days out, for you as well as him and take his gadgets or whatever gives him downtime.
I am a serial holidayer and when we do all those things we can make it a success. Dd3 is still extremely hard work at times but that shows us that she isnt coping so we stop, return to our base and try again another day.
Oh and stop beating yourself up! It sounds like things are very tough at the moment!
Get your Dp on an autism awareness course or give him some books to read, he is behaving like a child! Does he have AS too?
Yes, we tend to avoid flying and the channel tunnel for this reason (also because DH hates flying). However DS is now 12 and copes much better with delays than he did when he was younger. I would contact the airline, a friend told me that she always lets them know her DD has autism and they are great at allowing them a quiet space in the boarding area, letting them board first, makibg sure they are told about any delays etc.
Just read my last post back and it doesnt read quite how it was intended!
I wasnt suggesting that your DP behaving like a child was an indicator that he might have AS. It just popped into my head that he might!
Ineedmorepatience - I am sure DH is on the spectrum but he refuses to do anything about it. He is in complete denial over anything to do with autism - he doesn't believe that it exists just an excuse for naughty children!!!
He definitely needs a really good autism awareness course!!
I'd be far more concerned that my vulnerable disabled child was being treated so appallingly by his Father.
Any chance his meltdowns are more intense because of his fathers behaviour - rather than his dad's reaction being because of it?
I'd do a family meeting and timetable. Everyone discuss things that make them upset and anxious - agree if anyone feels overwhelmed it's back to base for down time. Agree what activities you'll do, spread them out, perhaps look at food you'll eat etc.
I take DS away in planes. We do a social story of what's happening. Just written but it includes what will happen at airport, delays etc and gives DS the flight information so he can concentrate on checking the computers rather than the crowds around him.
One thing I will warn though is gatwick now makes you walk through duty free into departures - it's a sensory nightmare for those who don't do smells.
Actually six weeks might be an advantage as it is long enough to establish a new routine.
Preparation is key. Show photographs of where you are going and how the journey will be made.
Plan activities in advance (even if you would rather be spontaneous) so he knows what to expect each day and try not to do too much.
Try and do communal activities e.g. pool during non peak times.
Think about sensory problems - avoid heat of the day, French castles can be very smelly in our experience! Big advantage though it tends to be quieter than the UK - obviously depends on whether you are going to a peak holiday spot.
oh Peppa, I think you posted about DH before.
I agree with zzzzz - his behaviour is far more concerning' than the other holiday issues.
Does your DH want to go? he will be with DS 24/7 without the option to escape to work etc. If things dont improve, is there an option that you just go with the Dc? Going on holiday with his dad who doesn't even to DS is just not fair.
Must be also very difficult for you but you have mainly a DH issue (from reading your posts).
I agree with pp about contacting the airline/airport - many will fast track u and alert u to quiet areas of the airport to wait. If you can afford it it might be worth looking into using an airport lounge - we do this with dd and find she is much calmer as they tend to be quieter with comfy seats - she has to have a comfortable place to sit or things get difficult! Also take some noise cancelling headphones as most airports have free wifi so u can watch videos etc, as well as use them on the plane too. Which airport r u flying from? Manchester do a guide for customers with autism all about the airport that u can download and read prior to your trip, others may do the same? Once you are there I think you will enjoy it and you can set up your own routines - good luck X
Does your son like travelling? my son loves travelling but we have done this since he was a baby, we have always been away, i do notice he does get stressed before we go and the first day he is there he will be anxious but after that he is fine.
yes to contacting airline/airport. we have had some very good travel experiences, and generally airport staff are very good, as are the plane crew. Explain you will be on your own with two dc. Remember to take dx documents/letter with you and keep to hand.
Even if it goes wrong, you will cope ok. Stay calm, and don't plan too many activities! Let ds take the lead. There are lots of swimming lakes he may like, and you can take a picnic of foods he will (might) eat. You can hide in a quite corner and take some games to play and iPad loaded with a film (or two).
I think a holiday is just what you need!!! You will be fine. Yes, people will stare when he meltsdown, but it will pass, and you have all the time in the world when on holiday. No school, no bus to catch, no clubs to get dc2 to.
Good luck. Go for it.
I saw this on FB earlier, if you are using Gatwick.
Your ds knows his dad doesn't like him?! That's just horrendous, sorry but that needs sorting out straight away or you'll have to separate to show your ds he comes first. Sorry but that's a much bigger issue than the holiday, which I'm sure you know anyway!
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