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holiday cottage for families with autism

(55 Posts)
Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 13:23:48

I have the opportunity to make a holiday let. I want to make it the holiday cottage I couldn't find when my kids were little. Somewhere without judgment and with an understanding of Autism and Special Needs. A place where adults could rest and relax and kids were safe with plenty on the doorstep fun and recreation, even on rainy days. I am based in Somerset between Bridgwater and Minehead and I would love to have input from families. If you would be willing to share your insights and needs with me to help me create this, I would love to hear from you.

zzzzz Fri 10-Mar-17 13:37:35

The biggest thing for me is being able to lock us all in at night so I can sleep and outside space that only has one entrance so I can sit and read a book.

Borka Fri 10-Mar-17 14:33:51

Definitely enclosed outside space.
A bathroom where the extractor fan doesn't automatically come on when you turn the light on.
Reasonably thick curtains in the bedrooms - not necessarily blackout linings, but not thin wafty white things either.
Photos of all the rooms on the website you list the cottage on - DS copes much better if he knows before we go away exactly what it's going to look like.

Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 15:09:32

Thank you both - I was thinking of black out blinds to the bedroom and good curtains - do you think they should also be in the other rooms? There will be two enclosed outdoor spaces with good locks both of which are in view of the inside space. One space is a small lawn and courtyard and the other is a larger lawn where you can play ball games or whatever, fly a kite. Inside there are two leather recliner chairs looking out over the patio and lawns with great views too and two leather sofas in front of the log burner and TV both of which also have views of the outside space. I will definitely take the point on board about the extractor fan and the light! Thank you both. Cathie

Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 15:53:41

Sorry Borka, had to dash before I got onto the photos - understand my DS was the same, so yes definitely there will be a preparation pack with photos of all the rooms (each wall) and a plan so that you can see where all the rooms are. I was going to do the same outside too and with the names and pictures of all the animals (we have sheep, donkeys, hens, guinea fowl and a small dog!) What about getting DS to sleep, that was always my bug-bear - strange linen, strange room, too dark, too light, strange smells ...

F1ipFlopFrus Fri 10-Mar-17 19:52:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 20:16:08

Hi F1ipFlopFrus
Yes I remember the days well! One place we stayed had lots of lightweight china ornaments everywhere - I had to make a note of what was where and then remove them all and then put them all back - even then I missed a stupid blue china whale in the bathroom which fell into the bath and smashed! Good point, I am planning to have a few wooden bits and bobs, all lamp fittings are dimmable high level, walls will be simple, easy clean and really good quality, bathroom grade laminate flooring in every room - all easy clean. Same for the furniture - leather but - it will be scotch guarded - ready to repel spills and sticky bits! Really appreciate you taking the time to post this. Cathie

katcatkat Fri 10-Mar-17 20:22:23

More than two bedrooms so that autistic child can have his/her own room away from parents and siblings. WiFi so that the utube or other obsessions can be catered for. These are helpful in our case and things we look for.

amistillsexy Fri 10-Mar-17 21:13:24

Avoid artificial air fresheners! DS is really sensitive to smells, and hates artificial ones. The last cottage we stayed in, I spent two days cleaning with bicarb and keeping the windows open before he'd settle at all.

Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 21:46:32

Dear amistillsexy
Poor you, not a good way to start a holiday. Yes, good point and my DS hates the smell of washing powder so bedding was always an issue and he dislikes bleach too! So basically, natural, low odour cleaning fluids and eco balls for washing linen etc (what I currently use for all the family). Good point, thank you!

Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 22:28:50

Dear katcatkat
Good point about the wifi - would you download to your own device? Would a Bluetooth tv be useful? tv in lounge only or two - one for adults and one for kids? Would Bluetooth speakers be useful for music around the place? (I am thinking the Archers and Woman's Hour!) Thanks a lot for your input. Cathie

F1ipFlopFrus Fri 10-Mar-17 22:41:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gourmetcat Fri 10-Mar-17 23:07:56

dear F1ipFlopFrus
plastic plates and cups great idea - and need to be dishwasher safe so less washing up! Thanks again! Cathie

katcatkat Sat 11-Mar-17 06:56:54

One TV is fine though many cottages we have been in have a TV in the bedroom. Speakers we wouldn't use as noise sensitivity is a problem for us but they are a nice idea. The WiFi streaming video is the thing my DS loves at the moment we would bring our own device.

Gourmetcat Sat 11-Mar-17 08:11:18

Dear katcatkat
The noise sensitivity with speakers is interesting - is this with all speakers? If you don't know don't worry, I will investigate and see what I can find out. I am thinking same quality speakers as the TV or even Bluetooth headphones linked to the speaker - my DD has a pair of Bluetooth headphones (wireless) so my DS doesn't get wound up by having to listen to her music! Thanks again Cathie

zzzzz Sat 11-Mar-17 08:57:51

We can manage our own screens but it is much harder to manage things like doors to the garden that can't be secured.

Something that can be moved like floor cushions/bean bags is really helpful if I have to sit in the gloom with a non sleeper.

Gourmetcat Sat 11-Mar-17 09:07:20

Dear zzzz
you will have been bags! What do you mean exactly by doors to the garden? Do you mean locked from the inside so they can't be opened by our DC or do you mean secured open so they don't blow shut in the wind? You raise an interesting point about non-sleeper my DS was one of them until he was about 10, now thankfully he has read the teenager profile, and sleeps long hours ... once I have got him to bed in the first place! I was wondering about doing a really off the wall childrens bedroom but I am concerned that it may not be what families want but here goes ... what about a children's bedroom which looked like a glade in the forest, photodigital trees on the wall, real looking grass on the floor (the soft astroturf) and a real tent (all guy ropes etc safely removed). Inside the tent a comfy mattress topper and some blankets (there is underfloor heating). The ceiling would be studied with tiny led lights which would twinkle. I was thinking about my own DS and DD who loved making dens and often fell asleep in them. But I am wondering if no beds in the DC bedroom may be too unconventional ... what do you think?

AllPizzasGreatAndSmall Sat 11-Mar-17 09:16:02

In one way the bedroom sounds lovely, but for a lot of children they need a very plain room without a lot of 'stuff' to over stimulate them.

zzzzz Sat 11-Mar-17 09:16:42

Basically I want to go to sleep knowing no one can let themselves outgrin

Mine has a pop up tent in his room for playing camping. Why don't you do a very plane room and provide the makings of a camp room with a photo in a drawer under the bed. Roll of grass, pop up tent, battery candles for the "camp fire" etc grin

Gourmetcat Sat 11-Mar-17 09:25:55

Dear AllPizzasGreatAndSmall and zzzzz
Yes, good idea about plain and simple which is what it is at the minute - I like the idea about the "DIY" camp including the candles - brilliant! The bedrooms in the cottage are quite small only 3m x 3.5m so to make room for the tent, I could either have folding up beds into the wall (adults would have to put the bed away) or I could have two single beds so the beds could be pushed together and the campsite put on top or alternatively there is a large dining room (fold away table and chairs to make room to play when raining and a breakfast bar in the kitchen) where they could set up camp - right outside the door to the adult bedroom...
Take your point about the locks and yet all doors have a lock and a key - two sets - one for you to use daily and an emergency at high level adjacent to the door. All windows have window locks too and can be locked in semi open position.
Thanks again for your input Cathie

KanyeWesticle Sat 11-Mar-17 09:28:05

Camp room kit, for the children it'd suit, sounds great. I do think a simple single bed's probably easier for settling for us.

zzzzz Sat 11-Mar-17 09:37:03

Plane! Plane! blush.

Plain obviously grin

What is the greatest for us is a swing. Slides are lovely too but a swing is soothing. If you have a fence or wall an old bit of piping set at an angle and a bucket of tennis balls to post is great.

Cakescakescakes Sat 11-Mar-17 09:53:14

Deal breakers for me would be a tumble dryer or washer dryer at least. Even for a short break DS isn't reliable toilet wise so always need to do washing. Also a bath in the cottage. He is terrified of showers so will only have baths. Good wifi. And safe enclosed outdoor space.

Other nice things would be blackout blinds on bedrooms (otherwise I bring my own from home), waterproof mattress protectors (again I bring from home), up to date takeaway leaflets who will deliver to the cottage or are wishing easy reach. Eating out is tricky with DS but it's nice to not cook all the time.

Sausagepickle123 Sat 11-Mar-17 10:24:43

I think a carefully thought out info pack would be great. E.g. As above takeaways who deliver, child friendly pubs with outside space, local activities with advice (e.g. Quieter times, realistically how long it takes to get somewhere on foot with kids, places to burn off steam).

zzzzz Sat 11-Mar-17 11:29:46

Cleaning products to hand but not accessible to kids. For us thatsfor messy eaters and poor aim in the toilet. Dust pan and brush and a mop is very helpful.

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