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Going on holiday

(25 Posts)
stargirl1701 Sat 14-Jul-18 12:32:28

Any tips on how to go on holiday and it be pleasant?

DD1 (nearly 6) has sensory processing difficulties and we are waiting on an ASD assessment through CAMHS. She finds change and transitions very challenging.

We tried a holiday home in Aviemore earlier in the year - again. Exact same house, exact same week as the last few years. Exact same plan for activities on the same days. She still found it all exceptionally hard. We did lots of prep with photos from the previous year.

We haven't gone away this summer. She has had chicken pox and starts primary school in August (Scotland) so things have already been challenging.

What do folk do for holidays?

Strawberrymelon Sat 14-Jul-18 20:02:48

We only go away for three or four nights. I find that is the most my ds can manage.

RippleEffects Sat 14-Jul-18 20:41:26

We go away around 4 times a year. 3 DC. One 14, autistic in special provision schooling, one 12 NT, one 7 current diagnosis social communication disorder but we fully expect an Autism diagnosis as she gets older.

Firstly I've finished grieving for holidays as they were pre DC. Now I accept that they require meticulous planning, have some fairly ridged requirements and I need to hitch up my big girl pants and tell people what we need. They are great family experiences.

We find half a mile down the road is as hard going as four nights in New York. Having accepted that the change will be a challenge its opened our eyes to some amazing breaks away.

We book well in advance. We tend to fly Easyjet as it's very formulaic, they have a fantastic disability team and allow early boarding, their hand luggage is generous so we can have all our stuff with us and no hanging around other side, any hanging around before take off and we have our world in a case so can get out comforters, games, snacks etc.

We book accomodation direct with owners using the likes of homeaway, airbnb, bungaloo. We book bigger than minimum requirements because we tend to spend quite a bit of time in our accomodation. We go for minimum of three beds as DS1 needs his own space, we like to have a lounge and formal dining space too as food is time consuming, a little complex and sometimes rather messy.

I tend to pack quite a few safe meals and snacks so whilst we add a choice of local ingredients there's always a familiar low pressure selection of foods on offer.

We take pillows for DD and DS1 and covers/ blanket for DS1 and a fleece blanket for DD.

We take toilet paper, lots of wipes etc.

It's lots of work but we make it work.

The DC get involved once we've booked in choosing what we'll do. We Google earth our accomodation and do a virtual tour before we arrive.

I wont say our holidays are meltdown free. We have had to get specialist travel insurance because I was concerned about having Ds's Autism named on the policy. We had a customs nightmare on our recent return from NewYork in Feb half term, they took DS1's laptop out of sight. It was an exceptionally hot day and the security area was in a cramped temporary area where we kept being buffeted whilst waiting.

I honestly thought DS1 wasn't going to be able to board the plane. I couldn't bend him into a waiting room seat for about an hour. We had to march endlessly muttering around the hot airport whilst DH stayed with the younger two. To top it all when we were finally safe on our overnight return flight BA didn't offer me a glass of wine. I have never needed a drink so much in my life. BA may never be forgiven!

We flew at Easter, Easyjet again, to Venice. Really smooth flights, lovely airport and a lovely break.

It's not that I'm a pro Easyjet person, its that they have a formula and they stick to it. The consistency works for us. We also love the likes of Ikea and dare I say McDonalds for food stops when travelling for the same reason. The DC make a game of spot the difference without it fully taking them out of their comfort zone.

We went to Ikea in Iceland (we've been on several trips) and the DC loved it. They served meatballs! We've been to McDonald's in as many European cities as we've visited. Often just for a bottle of water, free WiFi and use of toilets but it's like an oasis safe space in a busy place.

stargirl1701 Thu 09-Aug-18 18:45:21

Well, we've tried twice over these holidays.

4 days in July. DD1 was non-verbal by the time we got back. I've never seen her like that before. She just hissed like an angry cat if anyone spoke to her.

Just tried again this week. 3 days. Got back this morning. She has had 4 meltdowns today including one that lasted 2 hours.

I can't fathom trying this again. I'm like a broken shell.

Lesley25 Fri 10-Aug-18 09:21:57

You’ve tried to make it work but it’s bloody hard work holidays.
I understand youre like a broken shell. It wasn’t ever meant to be like this.
But listen, it’s done and dusted and you’re home now.
When holidays weren’t working for us a couple of years back I came up a way of having a nice time at home by doing a more extravagant food shop, doing day trips in the car sometimes more for he drive and spending 10 mins when we got there but enduring a 60 minute Car journey because that’s all ds could stand.
Right now, don’t think about anything other then being kind to yourself. And telling yourself the holidays past and you did your best but now it’s done.
Big hand hold here. I’ve been there. X

stargirl1701 Sat 11-Aug-18 05:29:53

Thanks @Lesley25

She clearly simply prefers to be in the normal routine and disrupting that is hugely distressing.

It's hard to know how to balance her needs with DD2's. I worry about her feeling excluded if we try something without her (that DD2 would love).

Storminateacup74 Wed 15-Aug-18 22:36:57

We are away at the moment and haven't been able to leave our campsite. We are in France everywhere is too busy and different son cannot cope. Unfortunately dh thinks he is just being awkward. Son is eating nothing as food is so different. Just round the pool all day everyday. My DD is having to miss out on stuff though such as waterparks and exploring as dh refusesvto look after our son. I am very mserable and will never do it again.

Ellie56 Thu 16-Aug-18 11:06:11

Storminateacup74
So why can't not so DH take DD to the waterpark while you look after your son?

KateGrey Thu 16-Aug-18 11:11:11

@stargirl1701 I’m sorry. How old is your dd?

I have three kids and two have asd, adhd the list goes on. One also has coeliac which is our biggest challenge. My youngest is happy as long as I am there. Middle gets anxious but is able to express it. We don’t tend to go away much as they like their home comforts and it’s hard to find layouts that we need where we can watch our youngest. Holidays aren’t relaxing at all.

Lesley25 Thu 16-Aug-18 14:34:19

Honestly I’ve never viewed holidays as a real holiday- I know NT parents who look forward and count down to them and I can understand as I have an NT son - they are a world- universe away from what holidays are for like for us and my second ds who has severe autism. This summer holiday is the first one I’ve actually thought “I can’t do this anymore”. It’s helped to change my viewpoint Over the years and view holidays as a chance for ds to be Out of his comfort zone, build in self coping mechanisms and progress as a result. It’s usually small progress but visible to a parent. But this holiday has been different. Maybe as ds is almost 10 now it’s clear he struggles hugely and the small activities he does enjoy cannot spin out a whole day, just a few hours if that which then involves me being home with him in the holiday apt, so NT Ds can go out and do all the things he craves with dh.
But I’m going to say it, it just feels like such a miserable time for me too. I watch ds with his rituals and it crushes me. Maybe because it’s under the microscope and I’m right there.

Sirzy Thu 16-Aug-18 15:43:55

I think you need to lower expectations too, we are away now and currently in the middle of a 3 hour block back in our cabin, ds is watching peter rabbit for the umpteenth time this week but it’s giving him away time. We tend to work in 2 hour blocks of “out” and then chill.

zzzzz Thu 16-Aug-18 15:59:24

Weirdly we find holidays fine confused. Though to be fair we do exactly what suits us and ds (ASD). Can I give a HUGE MNSN thumbs up to Birmingham airport, who provided a tiny sunflower badge that got us whisked through queues without fuss?grinflowers. You can also park right next to the terminal so everything is less convoluted.

I think ds has me so well trained that supporting him is fairly easy now. We go for large 5star, or self catering villas, as both can accommodate weird diets and peaceful telly hogging. Mine really lives a pool so he’s fairly low maintenance if he ca bob about, and developmentally it’s always proved a boost.

Storminateacup74 Thu 16-Aug-18 17:06:23

Unfortunately my DH hates water and swimming and will not put any of our children's interests before his own so unless it's something he wants to do he won't help with the children.

openupmyeagereyes Thu 16-Aug-18 17:26:35

Lesley is there a reason you and your dh can’t share the time out of the holiday apt with NT ds?

Ellie56 Thu 16-Aug-18 19:48:59

Storminateacup74 Sounds like you would be better off without your "D"H. No wonder you are miserable.He sounds like a selfish twat.

I would be re-evaluating this relationship. He doesn't seem to be contributing much to it.

zzzzz Thu 16-Aug-18 20:34:39

Tell him either he helps or you need to pay for someone else to help.

Lesley25 Fri 17-Aug-18 16:37:24

We hardly share time holiday time out because I have 2 weeks alone with NT son before my other son who has asd breaks up so I tend to do fun stuff then and husband who works 12 hours a day as the main breadwinner gets that time with NT son and he wants that time alone with husband also.

openupmyeagereyes Fri 17-Aug-18 17:55:10

So your husband doesn’t spend any one to one time with your ASD ds? That doesn’t sound fair on your ds or you.

openupmyeagereyes Fri 17-Aug-18 18:11:37

Commiserations to those of you having a difficult time on holiday, especially when your dh’s should be helping out more.

I only have one dc (4 yo with ASD) so things are more straightforward for us. As pp have said, we have lowered our expectations of what he can cope with. We plan one activity a day, generally, and then go back to the holiday cottage to chill out. We are lucky in that, so far, he loves staying somewhere new.

When we have them, our issues are generally the same as those we have at home; difficulty sharing equipment or toys with other children, wanting to do something or go somewhere he can’t and not wanting to leave somewhere. These can lead to tantrums which may be relatively mild and short to much more severe. It really depends on what he’s going through, developmentally, at the time. He’s also a very restricted eater and will not eat out anywhere so we usually have to go home for meals. Being able to eat out somewhere is probably the thing I miss most on holiday (and at home).

Lesley25 Fri 17-Aug-18 20:30:13

I’m not being clear. I’ve just described what we do on a holiday week. Dh has 1:1 time with ds on s Sunday or Saturday when we divide and conquer.
During our 1 weeks holiday that’s how we did our week with me doing the lions share of it, so nt son can do activities that my other son wouldn’t or couldn’t do- in an unfamiliar place it makes sense for me to stay with ds. Meals all have to be done at home so I do that at the same time, but with ds having his rituals and finding the activities he used to love and we do as a family becoming shorter- I found the time in the holiday apt harder.

Lesley25 Fri 17-Aug-18 20:32:01

I should add that when our sad son was 4, holidays were exactly as you’ve described above for us too.
My asd son is almost 10, with respect, it’s got harder as he’s got older.

Lesley25 Fri 17-Aug-18 20:34:31

Asd, not sad!

drspouse Fri 17-Aug-18 20:43:43

We're on holiday at the moment and it's hard. We didn't do the virtual tour which was a bit silly really. I worry the DCs will moan about something they usually cope with (they share a room on holiday fine, but not at home).
We have done well with kids clubs e.g. Esprit- both DCs love playing in snow and have done a little skiing (both very active) and the play workers are good with them (DS probably has ADHD).

We are actually finding this holiday is better as it goes on - the DCs find more they like and we can do it again. We're having fun going to buy breakfast every day, they get more screen time than usual, and they've found a meal they like that most restaurants do! But they are also OK with a variety of food a lot of the time so we are lucky in that respect.

We have done 3 summer breaks in London and as ours are the "keep them busy" type this has worked well - dinosaurs and tube trains. We were able to stay in the same place each time though and we can't stay there again.

drspouse Fri 17-Aug-18 20:52:59

By the way I'm now finding I really want to go to the same place on holiday every year! I'm really annoyed we can't stay in the London place again as I was hoping for a repeat of our nice holiday.

openupmyeagereyes Fri 17-Aug-18 21:30:56

Lesley if that’s what works for you as a family then fair enough.

I’ve no idea how our holidays will be as ds gets older. Hopefully better but you never know. I posted our experience in case it’s useful to anyone reading the thread. The key for us is to set the expectation bar low. That way we’re not disappointed if we plan something we think he should love which doesn’t work out and if it goes well it’s a bonus. We’ve only had UK holidays so far, haven’t dared go abroad yet!

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