Autism Friendly Holidays / Days Out ie 7nt French or Italian Eurocamp Break for up to 6 from £49 at Wowcher (Travel not included)
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Autism Friendly Holidays / Days Out ie 7nt French or Italian Eurocamp Break for up to 6 from £49 at Wowcher (Travel not included)

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Found 4th Apr 2016
I have a nephew who has recently been diagnosed with Autism & I know that there are many carers / parents on here who are also caring for an Autistic child. My BIL / SIL have been very worried about travelling / going on holiday with him & though there is much more info in the public domain than there used to be, I thought it would be nice if we could share some links / info & tips to help each other.
So please feel free to add anything you think would be useful, places that you have stayed or even places to avoid.
I will start by popping some links in the 1st few posts to a few websites / info I have found.

Links in first 3 posts + in post #4 any offers / deals that may be worth looking at
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I really hope that some of these links help, I will add more when I come across any & as I said please feel free to add any you find!!

The National Autistic Society gives lot's of general advice / help & they have a super Holidays & Days Out Section HERE.

For people in Scotland Scottish Autism site is full of helpful advice / tips

Manchester Airport has a really well publicised scheme where children with autism can be fast-tracked through security to make travelling easier for them and their families, thread full of info HERE
It seems that most if not all other UK airports offer similar schemes / help too, I've found a few more links that may help, but general advice seems to be, contact the Special Assistance dept at your departure airport a month or more before & they will be able to help in lots of ways.

Gatwick Airport Link, they have also produced a booklet Making Your Journey Easier HERE which may well be worth a read.

East Midlands Special Assistance Link
Bristol Airport Special Assistance Link
Luton Airport Special Assistance Link
Birmingham Airport Link
Heathrow Info Link

Edinburgh has a fab little section that may help even if not travelling from there HERE.

Autism Speaks Guide to the Airport pdf has some really useful info in too.

Travel insurance also seems to be an issue on occasion, hopefully the links below will help;

National Autistic Society offer their own (in partnership)
Staysure
M&S Travel Insurance
Insure and Go
Edited by moderator: "edit" 3rd May 2016
I realise that for many carers / parents funding a holiday may be an issue, there do seem to be a few grants available that may help.
The Family Fund seem to offer grants that can be used at places like Butlins / Haven.
Disability Grants offer advice / links on where you can go for help.
Disability Aid Trust offers financial help / support for older children
HCPT
The Adamson Trust can offer financial grants / help & support
Autism Links site providing links to othere websites that offer holiday help / support to people with Autism

Merlins Magic Wand offer days out at their Merlin Attractions such as Legoland & Sea Life Centres

Edited by: "wishihadadonkey" 4th Apr 2016
From looking at the various links on the NAS Holidays / Days Out LINKS and the websites mentioned above, both large holiday companies such as Butlins & Haven & smaller more local ones offer holidays geared towards families that include someone with autism.

Happy Kids Holidays offer holidays in France & they look a fab company.

Do you dream of a holiday in the sun where:

every member of your family is welcomed and there are no stares and no embarrassment?
the environment is safe and you have been made aware of any dangers?
you've had help planning and preparing for your holiday?
you have someone to turn to if there’s a problem?
you know your requests will be taken seriously, no matter how unusual they might be?
If the answer to any of the above questions is "yes" then happykidsholidays is for you.

Badaguish Outdoor Centre Scotland looks amazing, it has lots of facilities on site & loads more to do nearby for the WHOLE family, it even offers Short Break Respite Care Activity Holidays with 24-hour care.

The Calvert Trust in the Lake District offer warm welcome; accessible accommodation and exciting breaks for schools, groups, families and individuals with their friends and carers. They are accessible to people of all ages with sensory, learning or physical disabilities, including those with the most complex needs for which most outdoor centres cannot cater.

Disability Snow Sport offer week long activity trips to the mountains and snow in the rest of Europe and the USA.

The Thomas Centre in Lincs offer breaks where their aim is to provide holidays that meet the needs of the whole family, not just the needs of the family member with special needs.

Disabled Holidays
A fantastic selection of holidays with plenty of things to see and do for children with autism to enjoy.
At DisabledHolidays.com, we know that looking for the right holiday for a family member with autism can be time consuming and stressful. Finding a destination with appropriate facilities and with staff who are sensitive to you and your needs is a priority

Haven Holidays

Butlins

Center Parcs - advice across the net seems to be ring and ask to speak to their special assistance team.
Other sites that offer help in finding the holiday that suits the whole family are;

HFT 2016 Holiday Information Guide Full of help / advice / links of places to stay

British Institute of Learning Disabilities.Info on Holidays Really useful info / links

The Autism Show in London, Birmingham & Manchester mid June - early July should be a huge resource of useful info / help
Edited by: "wishihadadonkey" 4th Apr 2016
Thanks for making this thread, I've got a brother who has autism. Information will come in handy
I have a son on the spectrum and a daughter who I think will be diagnosed to.
We have been on holiday once in 7 1/2 yrs. we went for 7 days. After 2 days we were back home. It was just to much. We have booked a holiday since. But I can led and just could not face it. This yr. I have said maybe to do a long weekend. As he is older. So thank you for this thread.
Alton Towers
If you take your documentation to Guest Services, you don't have to queue for any ride.
Lifesaver.
Thanks for sharing.
thank you very much for taking time out to post these link these can really help
Thanks to everyone for all the help and advice.
Something else I remembered, since the official diagnosis, my nephews school have been very supportive & have offered to allow my sil / bil to take him & his sibling out of school for 1 week without paying a fine & with official approval, so they get away in quieter periods
Thanks op
Thanks for this. Great info.
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Very useful info my son has autisum and my neighbours daughter has just been diagnosed so will pass this info on
There's a great system called Boardmaker (it's software and you print what you need). Expensive, but you may be able to access it through autism support or schools. I've 2 autistic grandchildren, who were helped a lot with this, especially for trips and holidays. The fear of the unknown seems to be a big problem, so preparing them with simple images of what to expect was good. There are small, very simple, clear drawings of each step. These can be cut out and laminated. With velcro on the back the pictures can go on a strip in any order. For instance, going to school - a strip by the front door had a clock showing 8.30. then the door open, then a car etc. It helped with toilet training, too. For holidays, once they were used to using the images, the pictures went on a keyring so could be shown in any order. Hope this helps. We've seen a tremendous change over the years, still needing preparation and support but much easier.
autism.org.uk/vis…rts

Edited by: "aninginaneana" 4th Apr 2016
wishihadadonkey

Something else I remembered, since the official diagnosis, my nephews … Something else I remembered, since the official diagnosis, my nephews school have been very supportive & have offered to allow my sil / bil to take him & his sibling out of school for 1 week without paying a fine & with official approval, so they get away in quieter periods



Technically it is not up to the school but the LEA, you fill in a form with reasons why, I can't remember if the school can add a comment and then it goes off to the LEA to have a look.
Often they will give you the exceptional time off, but warn you next time they might not as it then technically, at least from our LEA is not an exceptional circumstances but a 'regular/common' one.

So don't rely on it.

Still it's often worth the fee anyway and you can appeal iirc, the more that appeal the better in my opinion.
Family Fund give you vouchers via a company and you have to go through them, they can now not give you money or vouchers any other way. Max 500 quid but be careful as you can often save that by not using the voucher. Part of theirnrpterms with the holiday group. But the group should check to see if the holiday is suitable etc and possibly insurance offers?

Anyway it's not just hokidys but grants for pads, equipment etc. Well worth applying for every year even though the holiday side of it is not as good as it use to be.
wishihadadonkey

Something else I remembered, since the official diagnosis, my nephews … Something else I remembered, since the official diagnosis, my nephews school have been very supportive & have offered to allow my sil / bil to take him & his sibling out of school for 1 week without paying a fine & with official approval, so they get away in quieter periods



I'm glad to hear that, but do remember the "fining" thing is BS, as was stated just the other month in court when challenged, No schools have done anything more than shuffle their feet when I have challenged them over this, not Government, council authorities, nor dept of education.

Yes, we do take our child out during school term times.
Don't be sheep, think on your own feet.
Depending on his or her age, condover hall is an amazing place for autistic children it is set up for schools so for an activity holiday it may seem fairly boring to some. However these are the plus factors that I found. Upon arrival you are greeted and your team leaders called over. Two of them, they show you and your children to your room. They are your activity leaders for the duration of the stay which helps build up trust as in my experience keeping things constant is beneficial. They give you a quick but informative tour of the grounds, everything is with in walking proximity and easy to get to but far enough apart so one activity does not overlap another. In your team you are paired with 3 other parents and their children. This is brilliant because it is such a small friendly group. We all got to know one another fairly well. Food is included in the price and available for you to select what you want to eat and how much. Staff are extremely accommodating and are used to taking mostly schools and so are experienced with children of most natures. I guess the downfall would be they are not open to the public during school times. But they do keep their prices low. So worth a look. Very quiet friendly all staff live on site so its like one big family, set in acres countryside, mobile signal and modern tech is limited so is noise. All activates are optional and you are free to do other things if your not feeling up to being part of the team, but it really does help build team skills. I was incredibly proud of my son anyway.
My kid is artistic this will be perfect
Thank you for the great info, my son is autistic and this is just the type of information I need as previous holidays have been very hard work.

One successful trip was to Disney land Paris where you will be fast tracked to the front of the queues . if you go to the information centre and show written proof of your child's disability you will be given a special pass.
Thank you for the info. I have two children with autism and before reading the above comments I did not think I would have the slightest chance of taking them on holiday during term time. Now I am going to fill the request form in and see what happens.
Great info, OP. Well done

I have an autistic son who attends a specialist school and my daughter attends the local primary. Both schools have always been very good at allowing us to take the children away for one week a year during term time.

We usually go to Butlins for a week and have always really enjoyed it. I wouldn't dream of going during busy periods though.
bensimmo

Technically it is not up to the school but the LEA, you fill in a form … Technically it is not up to the school but the LEA, you fill in a form with reasons why, I can't remember if the school can add a comment and then it goes off to the LEA to have a look.Often they will give you the exceptional time off, but warn you next time they might not as it then technically, at least from our LEA is not an exceptional circumstances but a 'regular/common' one.So don't rely on it. Still it's often worth the fee anyway and you can appeal iirc, the more that appeal the better in my opinion.


I think that specifically depends on where you live.
Where I live, it is up to the school and the governing body to decipher, not the LEA.
My son is autistic. We had a long weekend away glamping in Scotland at the end of last summer, so it was quiet and he loved it. I'd recommend something self catering, so you can minimise the change of routine.
I've just booked a week in a self catering cottage on a farm in Scotland in August. There are only four other cottages there, so it won't be busy, and being on a farm there will be lots to see and do. And it's under 350 quid for the week!
My son goes to a specialal school, and they have until now flat it refused permission to take time off for holidays. I'm hoping a new head teacher will be more understanding.
Thanks everyone for contributing, some fab ideas & suggestions!!
An excellent post, it's good for people to talk and help each other out. My BIL has a brilliant FB page 'inspired by autism' I thoroughly recommend you have a look. The page is about his beautiful son and all the difficulties and struggles they face daily. It's a good way for other autistic parents to interact as he is an excellent listener with good advice.

My sister asked me to add this below....

For those in Scotland there is a Scottish government funded holiday charity called Take A Break Scotland. You can apply for holiday money or holiday equipment (e.g. tents) to them AS WELL AS the family fund. Only thing is there is a limited pot of money so you have to get your application in soon.
We have always taken our son during term time and written them a letter explaining why and the school have been very understanding.




Edited by: "hamza123" 5th Apr 2016
Another suggestion - share lots of pictures of the place you're going to with the kids. Even logos for the airport or hotel etc. Anything that makes the trip less strange can be very useful. You can do each stage of the trip, from door to door practically. There's always the pitfall of things not being EXACTLY the same, of course but in general it really seems to help. We used playmobil toy plane and passengers to act out what happens at an airport. That was fun!
Lovely post. I have many dealings with special needs / learning disabled children & young adults and although their main difficulties might not be diagnosed as autism, they all have so many autistic traits we learn being autistic friendly enables them to get the most out of any activity, event or trip.
This is a lovely post where people can share ideas of what works, but also as important, what didn't work for them!
Just an observation, but can this post be a "HUKD Pick", so it is visible to those who might not come on here often?
Thank you my nine year old son was diagnosed with autism last week.
As well as board maker, try Mrs Riley is a good pecs site. You get a free trial and then I think it's about 8 pounds a month
Nice find
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Thankyou for this thread, will keep an eye on it regularly.
Thanks for this, it's really handy.

My seven year old got diagnosed last year. Because it was just after diagnosis, I didn't know about the Alton Towers fast track for autism thing...she couldn't handle the queues and went on a safe bit of grass right next to me on the other side of a queue fence. They got two massive security guards to throw us out of the park. She was petrified (thought she was being taken to prison) and the management didn't give two hoots about her autism.

This kind of info about where to go / what to do really helps.
Super thread thank you. I have two with Autism so very usesful to me.
It's worth noting that if your child have a diagnosis of autism, you should qualify for disability living allowance, even at low rate. The advice we got was to fill in the forms describing your worst-case day. We get £300 a month, and our son is certainly not high-dependency.
Once you have DLA, or a diagnosis letter or some other proof, apply for carer's allowance too. Especially if one parent doesn't earn more than around £200 a week. Sixty quid a week is not to be sniffed at.
Also contact your local authority to see if they offer a carers cars.

Once yo have some or all of these, most places do discount for registered dsiabled and/or carers.
For example, Merlin (Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland, Sea Life etc) will let a carer in free. You can even get an annual pass for somethign like £100 with a free carers pass.
Knowsley safari park let a free carer in, as do many other places. Get as many different proofs of your child's condition as you can, then contact them before you go to see what they will offer.
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