Holidays with a child with autism and developmental delay versus holidays with a neurotypical child. We have both, so this is kind of a challenge. I would love to be able to give each of my children, amazing memories and at the same time, I don’t want to make one child suffer because of other abilities/inabilities, preferences, likes, dislikes.

As a dad, I really think about it constantly. What about you?

This trip supposed to be for us something new, more exotic than ever. We had been in mainland Spain, Canaries, Poland and a few other counties. We wanted to show our children something even more exotic. We chose Marrocco – Agadir. Amazing weather in February break, 27 degrees Celsius, full sun, nice and inexpensive place.

 

We always prepare ourselves and children before our trips. Counting days, marking the calendar, preparing pictures for our son with each sequence so he will know what to expect. I’m showing him online our apartments, surrounding areas, possible walking destinations. We also have prepared travel sequences. Pictures as accurate as possible.
Car, Airport, Plane, Transfer or Taxi, Hotel. If we need to stop or we need to do anything else, we plan that in advance and making sure that our son knows about it.

 

Said that, we all know, that life throws at us different obstacles, especially when you have everything sorted. Who knows what I’m talking about?

 

We packed IPad, his precious bunny, ear defenders, favourite snacks, some games and some crafts prepared for the plane journey.
Quite often we are managing well, till something happening and we are faced with challenges. We travelled to the airport with no issues, security check went well, no issues. Maks was able to do everything, he’s pretty familiar with airport routine as we have been flying since he was born. He became a bit anxious at the gates, many people queuing, children crying, very difficult for him to contain his emotions. I’m holding his hand, cuddling him, making sure he’s close as possible, ear defenders on. In the other hand my daughter. Time to board the plane.

 

 

The first challenge, we have been told that Ryanair changed rules and hand luggage needs to be left at the check-in desk. Stewardess asking us to go back or pay, my stress level goes up as I wasn’t informed about it before. Maks getting teary, anxious. Thanks to another stewardess who sees how distress is our son, just smiling and asking us to go to the plane without worrying about anything. Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts. Maks calmed down and we managed to get on the plane without bigger issues.

I feel anxious just thinking back bout it. Really.

 

Flight went well, we slept for a bit, he played some games, done some crafts. I noticed that Maks is a bit unsettled, he also was burning a bit. We parents are able to recognise any change of mood or behaviour right? Maks went to sleep, I played a bit with my daughter. Eventually, we managed to survive this flight without bigger setbacks.

We landed in nice and warm Marroco. People started to get their belongings together, some babies started to cry and it was too much for Maks. He had a huge meltdown and refused to leave his seat. The plane was empty, only me and my son left. My partner took my daughter and they have been waiting for us on airport grounds. Maks got more and more upset, I wanted to comfort him and make sure he feels ok. A few minutes later I apologised for delay one of the stewardesses explaining the situation with Maks. She went to plane captain and a few seconds later he came out to us offering our Maks entry to the pilot’s cabin. I was stunned. Maks left his seat and went to the pilot’s cabin, sat down in the cockpit wiping tears from his face. He became calm and we manage to leave the plane without any problems. Dear crew – Thank you so much.

 

 

At the airport we experienced very long cues, some nice lady and her husband offered us to help us and give us a pass to the front of the line. Maks was in tears as, I was exhausted, my daughter and my partner were tired. We all felt awful. Making this long story short, two days later we got on top of all of this we got conjunctivitis and tonsillitis. Thank god we had some meds and penicillin with us.

I would like to say huge thank you for peoples kindness during our travels. For us, this was huge. Our children always come first, I want to show them that no disability should stop you from discovering. Yes, my son cannot do things by himself, but I can do everything in my power to show him this world and help him explore. We will face difficulties as they appear in front of us. I’m listening to my children and if they let me know that they don’t want to do something I will listen to them. Over these holidays we tried to spend time together and one-on-one with children.

 

 

We are blended or patchwork family so sometimes things are not easy but I think we are doing it well. 2019 was a great year in terms of quality holidays with children. We went to Marrocco, spent some time in polish highlands and with friends, we also went camping for the first time with them – they loved it. We also managed to visit an amazing caravan site in Wales. I’m proud of us, on top of this we have been really active. Looking forward to 2020.

What are your thoughts about the holidays and travelling with your children?