What have I done?

Have you ever had those moments  when you’ve doubted yourself and your actions.  Perhaps you’ve agreed to something or organised something and then on reflection thought that the decision you made was not such a wise one.  Well I’m feeling like that at the moment because a few days ago I booked a short break away with my husband and children.  I know, a mini holiday, an occasion that is supposed to evoke excitement and a feeling of looking forward to something.  But for me I am filled with nervousness and doubt because I’m just not sure about it. 

You see we haven’t been away for over three years now ever since my son became ill and confined to the house.  And even before that, holidays were difficult and were becoming increasingly difficult too as my son became older and his behaviour more difficult to manage due to his increasing size and strength.  So you see we are rather out of practice in going on holiday as a family and it worries me.  It worries me because with a son whose ASD has become more obvious and an aspergers daughter whose difficulties are also becoming more pronounced I am worried we won’t cope.

On the other hand we have been given a wonderful opportunity by our local authority who recognised that my family needed help in accessing a break.  As a result we were able to secure a small grant which we could use towards either a short break or day trips out for our son.  We chose the short break option because we felt in desperate need to spend some time  together, away from the stresses of domesticity, work and school.  More importantly perhaps, choosing a break meant an opportunity to develop our son’s confidence in going further afield from home, something that has been challenging for him since becoming unwell with agoraphobia.  So with our strategic caps on we told our son that he had a small amount of money in which to use towards a small break and where would he like to go?

His answer:  London.  Yes, LONDON. 

I can’t believe it.  My autistic son wants to go to London, one of the busiest mega cities on earth that is sure to challenge my son’s sensitive senses, that is sure to test my aspergers daughter’s senses and is sure to challenge me and my husband’s stress levels.  But my son is adamant that he wants to go, motivated as he is by his ‘special interest’ of the military and his desire to visit the war museums.  So enthused by my sons enthusiasm, we trawled the internet and with a big gulp of courage booked two nights in a London inn.

So there you have it.  I’ve booked my family’s first break away  for three years except that this break does not include my teenage daughter for she’ll be away with friends; another poignant step in our family development.  Still this opportunity gives us a chance for me and my husband to concentrate on our younger children without teenage tantrums threatening the equilibrium.  It means that we can concentrate on trying to create an autistic friendly experience in our great Capital. 

And with that in mind we are busy scanning train and bus timetables, investigating museums, boat trips and bus excursions, looking for places with wifi access and making sure that mum has access to a decent coffee shop.  It sounds exciting doesn’t it but for us this is more a case of necessity because we need to create a visual timetable to show our children what they will be doing and when.  And it doesn’t stop there; we’re also building up a sensory survival kit and ensuring that the childrens’ electronic gadgets are charged up with a supply of batteries and memory cards.  These are the things that have become essential in helping us to distract or relax our children which is so important in managing their behaviours.

And hopefully with this careful preparation we will create a positive experience for our children (and us) and return home with a  feeling that we can go away again.  I hope so, I really do.

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16 Responses to What have I done?

  1. Steph says:

    You are definitely doing the right thing – sometimes it’s all to easy to not do anything at all for fear of what *may* happen…. and if he/they want to go, that’s half the battle gone anyway!!! I live very near London, but my two are still a bit young for the trip. I’m sure there’s loads to do and plenty of understanding/accessible places, so I think you’ll all be just fine (as long as you’re prepared for the usual toddler/teenage/grownup tantrums and tiredness ;)). Wishing you luck, can’t wait to hear how it goes! x

    • Aspie in the family says:

      You’re right Steph – it is too easy not to do something because of what might happen. This trip is as much as building up my confidence in going out with my son (and daughter) as much as it is helping my son go further afield. Will let you all know how it goes. x

  2. jontybabe says:

    I really hope it all goes well for you. My daughter wanted go to edinburgh last year. She had never been on a plane before and I had never taken her away on my own either so it was mega stressful. However, she totally surprised me by coping brilliantly, despite huge delays at the airports. It turned out much better than I thought though when I came home I was so emotionally and physically drained I slept for hours! Sometimes we have to take those scary steps. ASD is an onward journey. Good luck. X

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thanks for sharing such a positive story. I think you’re right – we have to take these “scary steps” forward (she says, biting her nails). I’m hoping as my son has asked to go to London, that his interest will keep him going. Here’s hoping!

  3. Blue sky says:

    What a great opportunity :) I really hope you all have a lovely and reasonably relaxing time xx

  4. Esty says:

    My son with Asperger’s also wants to go to London! Remember to phone ahead everywhere you are going and ask them if they have priority entrance for kids with autism due to their inability to queue. When we went to Canada a lot of places had details like that on their accessibilty page on their websites. UK is a bit slower catching up but will do it out of goodwill if you ring ahead and explain. I used to carry a copy of his diagnosis around but didn’t need to use it :) Also make use of the parks for picnics and ‘downtime’ away from the noise. Have fun :)

    • Aspie in the family says:

      That’s interesting that London is appealing to your son as well – I wonder what it is about London? Thanks for the great tips as well; I will definitely ring ahead and the parks sound a good idea to escape the noise and crowds

  5. Lizbeth says:

    I’m glad you’re taking the break. It will be great, I know it will. Or at least keep saying that till it comes true! :)

  6. It sounds like you are preparing really well. Best of luck to you, and I hope it turns into one of the best trips ever.

  7. lucy says:

    Don’t worry, with the focus OFF mundane chores, its amazing how much time and patience you’ll have to be prepared for potential obstacles to enjoyment. You need this break, and I often find the things I worry about most tend to be most successful. Lots of coffee, lots of people watching, and remember – all mums panic about going away, its our nature!
    Have a brilliant time, you really deserve it.

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Lots of coffee and people watching sounds fab, if my kids let me. Thanks for the good wishes. x

  8. Jean says:

    I’m in awe of you taking your kids on a break. We’re still a million miles away from that stage. I love London tho. We lived there for 10 years and our oldest boy was born there so I have very happy memories of it. Really hope all goes well XXX

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thanks for commenting Jean. I do feel very fortunate to be where we are now, planning a break with our son. A few years ago it was impossible and I didn’t think we would ever get to this day. Though I am very nervous about this trip, I also feel very lucky that we are even at the point of planning a break with our son. Thanks for the best wishes. xx

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