Posted on: February 17, 2012

One of the main disadvantages to A’s Autism is finding places to visit and holidays to go on. At the moment we dont really take A on any trips because with him being non-verbal and very sensory we dont know whether all the planning we would do and the journey would be a waste of time.

Even taking A to the park can be stressful and your always faced with someone who doesnt understand Autism who can also be quite ignorant, because of this i only take A to the park, which he loves, when all the children in our area are at school, saves the explaining – saves the ignorance – and its a much more pleasant experience. A always approaches children to ‘hug’ them and not all are welcoming of this, especially some parents – i explain he has Autism but i’d be there all day if i went into detail and it doesnt stop the fact they dont want him hugging their child.

Luckily enough we go on holiday a lot to Haven Holiday Parks, we hardly ever see the entertainment – or very little of it, as the noise gets too much for A and for his own safety we keep him in his pram for most of the time. If we let him out he gets overwhelmed with excitement and the crowds, we’ve done it before and literally been running round in a big circle for about half an hour – then its a nightmare to get him back into his pram, which we need to for when we leave – A has no sense of danger so he must be in his pram where there is any traffic otherwise he can literally let go of my hand and run off.

A, loves being in the caravan, we remove all dangerous items from his reach and he can go anywhere he wants, theres no restriction. Just being in the caravan would be a holiday for A – needless to say we spend alot of time in their with him. Then at the actual park we visit there is a gorgeous lake, with ducks and swans, so on a daily basis we visit the lake and feed the ducks, A really enjoys this. Last time we went we where actually lucky enough to have a caravan with a decking around it, just at the foot of the lake so we didnt even have to leave our caravan to feed the ducks.

Its a lovely park with a golf course and lots of scenery – great for quiet walks, which A loves, its not crowded and not over stimulating for him. Then if you have other family members they can enjoy the entertainment. They also have a swimming pool.

We’ve thought of taking A abroad, something we would love to do, but its not really an option for us at the moment. Anything could trigger a meltdown for A, the waiting at the airport wouldnt be pleasant and then being on a plane could go both ways – and we arent even there yet. Its a long way to go if A didnt enjoy it.

One of the main reasons i want to raise awareness is so myself and millions of other families can enjoy days out, theres no reason why our Autistic children should miss out, and less ignorant and more aware people would make this much, much easier.

Ive gathered some links for ‘Autism Friendly’ holiday resorts & places to visit –

And these below are what have been recommended by a very good friend – and have great reviews, with the choice of staying in the UK or going to Spain.

As always i would love your comments so everyone can see different peoples experiences and also any places/holiday resorts you could recommend to myself and anyone reading.

L x


5 Responses to "Holidays"

Wonderful ideas L. Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to know what your child can handle at what they can’t. We have never brought K on holiday. We used to visit my grandparents cottage but the car ride was over 2 hrs and then we had a 15 min boat ride. The car he likes, the boat he didn’t so it was usually 15 mins of pure hell. We have brought him to an amusement park before, but the crowds would get too much for him and we could never stay long, which wasn’t fair to S and B.
I refrain from bringing K anywhere with crowds. It’s just too hard. But it’s not fair for him to have to stay home all the time. I really have no other ideas for outings for him!

We are lucky enough to be able to use my mother-in-laws static caravan at Burnham-on-sea. M has been there all his life, its quiet and safe he loves riding round the small site on his scooter. All the residents know him and keep an eye. It works for us because its so familiar for Max. There’s a swimming pool at the site ne t door we also use. We don’t use the club house its too much for M. Weve never attempted anywhere else as it wouldn’t be a holiday too stressful. If it works and were all happy and relaxed we don’t change things. M loves it says its paradise (he’s so posh lol not from us).

Agreed about haven/butlins type holidays. They tend to have the right things to do that appeal to ASD kids, and yet it is easy to go back to private quiet space if it gets too much.

We went to Disneyland Paris a few years back, and while time in the park was brilliant, and it is so child friendly that it really is a memorable experience, the travel, accommodation, eating etc was very very stressful. We spent a lot of money on taxis because the free buses were just impossible. Taxis are reasonable, but for 4 days and two 30 mile airport runs, it added up.

Simple things like juice was a disaster. They don’t drink diluting juice in France. Without several litres of juice on tap, Lewis struggles. Food was equally hard. I think he had hot dogs for every meal bar one.

So it can be rewarding, but being so far from home without access to simple ‘normalities’ can ruin the experience. If you are prepared for every eventuality, then it can be worth it.

I would add that Lewis was rudely barged out of the way at the final parade, and a member of staff noticed. We explained he was ASD, and they immediately moved all of us to the VIP area, and the kids personally got to meet all the characters. I’ve got a bunch of photos on Facebook, not sure if you are on FB or not?

It’s tough. No pretending that it isn’t potentially a very expensive disaster. We had tears from the airport at 9am to the entrance to the park at 10am the next morning. Screaming to go home.

The last time we went to haven, he got upset and wanted to go home at 10pm (we were due to leave the following afternoon). We packed in 15 minutes, jumped in the car and were home at 2am. Having that option takes A LOT of stress out of a holiday.

But every kid should go to Disneyland once.

our son marli has been on a meltdown all week we have tried all sorts with him like going park untill its dark and even then we have trouble trying to explain to him that its time to leave last night was the night from hell trying to return from the park with the kicking and screaming we have always taken him to the caravan when we possibly can we go to haven in clacton and he just loves the amusements he could spend all day in there. me and my wife have disscussed about taking him abroad and that just isnt an option as it would not be fair to us and other passengers so we just stay local although its still tiring we regard it as a break

Oh I know how you feel, holidays can be particularly difficult, we took my son abroad when he was 3, before he was diagnosed, we were in Spain for 2 weeks. It became so stressful, and we had to constantly push him around in his buggy, the different sights, sounds, smells, the heat, it was all too much for him. At the time we didin’t know he had autism, I wish we did or we would have thought again, and do what we do now, which is the same as you, Haven holidays, and days out here and there. Like you, preferably when it’s less crowded. We sometimes go to a log cabin near Loch Lomond, which is lovely, it’s quiet, and we can actually relax a little bit knowing there isn’t too much sensory overload. Thanks for this post, and the links, it’s so informative and so helpful 🙂

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