Monday 18 July 2016

Yay for the holidays?

Autitsic boy on ferry boat

Holiday. "An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling."

Leave. Recess. Time off from work (yeah right).

Come September I will be asked by a few of parents that I run past on the way to school:

"How was your holiday"
"Great" or often "Good" I say.

But my, our, 'extended period of leisure and recreation' is usually a bit less leisurely than many others.  And it's not because we are into adventure camps. 

Anything but.  Our kids don't do camps, or kids clubs. Two of our three kids have autism, ADHD and a few things beside. Going or being on holiday in itself should be something executed with military precision. But I'll be honest.  It's always chaotic.  It doesn't matter how much I plan, it's always a rush, I'm always tired before we have left and I'm always worried about something going wrong.

- David will try to climb off the Ferry..
- Anthony will wander off, get lost and fall off the Ferry..
- David won't eat anything on the Ferry..
- Anthony will smash something on the Ferry.... maybe a window and then
- David will hurt himself on the glass but not be able to tell anyone and will then die on the Ferry...

We haven't got to the Ferry yet.   At least when we fly, they can't escape. They've always done relatively well on flights.. the aircraft has not been grounded once. I'm not paranoid, honest. But when your kids cant look after themselves you need to think about everything, all the time.  There is no 'relaxing' by a resort pool. It's a constant vigilance.  Preventing David from steeling all the pool toys, eating other people's snacks and generally destroying poolside paraphernalia. Chasing Anthony down the hall because he's petrified of a mosquito and will run the other way until his legs give out.

But that doesn't mean it's not a holiday though. On the contrary, we have a great time.  It's an excellent opportunity for us to help the kids develop their abilities to cope with things.  Slowly, Anthony understands about not wandering and running off and David is able to cope without holding onto and eating everything the pool area has to offer.  Anthony overcame his fear of fireworks whilst on holiday.

So it's probably less leisure than most but I speak the truth when I say it's great.  It really is, and the kids certainly think so. Anthony insists we have several because they are 'so good'. This means we include visits to relatives in the holiday count to keep him pleased with the 'count'.

On our own holidays away, we all love being at the pool.  But we've discovered a private one works best, gives the kids the freedoms they need and us the opportunity to teach them about what should happen.  I love seeing a years worth of progress in all my kids. Anthony can now tread water in the pool, Jane can have a full blown conversation on the risks of getting suncream in her eyes and David is just so much calmer these days.  He is able to interpret instructions so much better now and will understand what is going on. This is our 'holiday home', we say and sign using Makaton, and we are going 'swimming' or even 'swimming is finished'.

They can sail the days away on their own little ocean while we interpret and engage them. And that is a lovely holiday. Heck, it's even verging on relaxing.  Don't forget to ask me how it was in September, chances are that I will smile, and truthfully tell you, it was great!

The Makaton Charity - #wetalkmakaton sign of the week 'holiday'
It's easy to remember, think of my son sailing in his pool with a skipper's hat on.  Brush the skip of your hat, skipper, you are on holiday.

Our blog - Never prouder of last place
Our blog - Swimming: A lead pipe, a ball and a pair of feet
Our blog - Turning fears into fancies in Florida

As listed on:

You Baby Me MummyThe Reading Residence

Over the summer I am supporting #wetalkmakaton signs of the week.
Catch the latest one here.


  1. I've heard great things about Makaton. So it's lovely to hear that your family uses it. #mmbc

  2. We absolutely do! Big Makaton advocates, without it we couldn't really communicate with our five year old lad!

  3. We never venture anywhere but my mum's house in France but that does involve a Ferry so still a lot to stress about!But my experience is similar. There's a lot of stress and planning and management needed but on balance there are lots of positives to outweigh it all!

  4. That's a really interesting perspective, and not one I've thought about often enough. I hope you do have a lovely break #MarvMondays

  5. Holidays are both fun and stressful at the same time aren't they! All I know about Makaton is from Mr Tumble really but it is a really good form of communication. #marvmondays

  6. We could quite happily spend the entire holiday at home, indoors, not seeing anyone...but where's the fun in that! So it will be forcing them outside when they don't want to go, humping around huge bags with all the things they need including changes of clothes in case of accidents, and lots of moaning about it being too hot, too cold or just too 'outsidey' And yes, I will be telling everyone in September that our holiday was great too x

  7. Makaton is such a good way to be able to communicate and a very worthy charity to support.
    And I hope you all have the best holiday :) x

    Thanks so much for being part of #MMBC. Hope to see you next week xx

  8. Fabulous post on what I can only imagine is a hard subject, You sound like your all over it and thinking of ways they can enjoy a holiday while still being themselves...super mamma or what! I also love signing with my daughter and now she's talking were doing some but not enough, but as we are off on our holidays in a few months, I'm going to keep doing the makaton sign for holiday and plane so she starts to understand! thanks for sharing and have a lovely summer x #bestandworst

  9. Really enjoyed reading this post, you have a way with words! I hope that you manage to enjoy a holiday regardless which I'm sure you will :) Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst

  10. We have one very unsettled big lad, existing very much in his world at the moment. Holidays are difficult for him due to the lack of structure. But we all need a holiday and we all make the most of the time together. Have a super holiday! #SSAAchievements

  11. I dread the day the day that I take Little R on holiday, it will be horrendous and I will worry about every little thing! I hope you manage to get a holiday though! #anythinggoes

    1. It's defiantly worth it even if it's not too far away or for too long. Good for us and good for the kids. It's perfectly normal to worry about everything.. But the prep will help you out! Tell us about it when you do xxx

  12. First time on your blog. I'm just blown away by how many blogs I see about autistic children. And the strength of parents such as yourself in coping (and yes I know you have no choice etc but still). Anyway, your positive outlook on family holidays is lovely. #MarvMondays

    1. Hello *waves* and welcome! Delighted to receive a comment from a smiley award winning blogger!

      It's easy when you have kids for them to take over your lives, so when your kids have autism it is part of what takes over your lives too. I never seemed to have the time to reply to people I met who had worries about their kids do started writing stories people could refer too. Sometimes it's heartbreaking, sometimes practical and sometimes it's hilarious.

      Thanks for stopping by, I'd love to see you here again

  13. It sounds like holidays are getting better as your kids are getting older... that has also been our experience.. I even look forward to holidays now whereas I used to half dread them when my lot were all small. I have had high stress levels at swimming pools in the past too - mainly worrying that E would start agressively telling off other people's children or even other adults if he observed them breaking any of the pool rules etc. #ablogginggoodtime

  14. Your holidays sound lovely! Clearly they take a bit of organising and are probably a little more exhausting than the average, but it sounds like your children and your family thrive on them and that is the recipe for a great family holiday :-) Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

  15. Hope the holidays are great for you all. Sounds like you organise them very well and the kids thoroughly enjoy them. Have fun! Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  16. I hope you all have a great holiday, you must have to be super prepared but it's worth it for the time you all get together. #WotW

  17. Ethan doesn't do well with the break from school, before breaking up he was all out of sorts. Last year we went away and it was too much, we were so tired and it wasn't the right setting. We have discovered Ethan loves Center Parcs, and keeps asking about that. We have a weekend booked in December! We have Florida booked for next year, I'm already worried about how things will work and trying not to talk myself out of it. But I agree, even with all the stress a holiday is so worth while for our families. I hope you have a great summer.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)


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