SEND: What’s different about our summer?

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Where like us you are away for the summer or staying at home, the truth is it’s often a different experience for families with SEND kids.  Whether it’s extra planning, extra stuff or simply ‘it’s just not happening’ our breaks can be challenging. So what did SEND family bloggers say when I asked them “What will be different about your summer?”

Faith Mummy has had a tough time recently and her response ‘facing major surgery’ made my heart go out to her.  Fingers crossed it won’t need to go ahead, but if it does.. we are with you. 

Mummy Est 2014 says, “This is my first summer holidays with 2 children so I will only be going places if I know that J will be supported either by extra adult (family or friend) or where I know I can meet news of both children at same time! Some places J needs more support than others but I also need to remember I have a baby to take into consideration too so I can’t support run and chase J if he gets upset/anxious.”

Girls Gospel says, “I’m taking both kids and the dog camping by myself this summer. It’ll be challenging but also totally worth it. My 8 year old son, Sam has autism and is non verbal but he loves being outdoors. I’m hoping it’ll break up the long break from routine for us all.”

MS Parent Advocate says, “I’ll be juggling the needs of two children with a 5 year age gap and completely different ideas of what makes a fun holiday. Hoping for a little respite from my sister and I’m trying to be organised and have made a planner. I shall be on my knees by week 2.”
Living with Blooming Autism says, “We’re going out weekly with our local spectrum club. A way of entertaining the kids inc siblings (farm parks, soft play, skate park etc) and making sure I get some adult interaction as 6 weeks is so isolating and my mental health suffers :/”
Sensational Learning with Penguin says, ” Because we home educate, we don’t really have to take notice of the term dates and can keep pretty much the same rhythm going all year round. So summer will be similar to the rest of the year, meaning a mix of learning activities, days out, and relaxing. That said though, we tend to avoid places that are very popular with kids during the holidays. Our boy can’t cope with queues and none of us enjoy crowded places. So it always feels like a relief for us when the schools go back after the holidays, and we can roam more freely again!”
Rainbow Dust says, “We be staying home because son refusal to walk at times make it impossible also 4mth waiting list for wheelchair.”
Steph’s Two Girls says, “We will be trying a Mon-Fri weekday stay at Center Parcs as a family holiday for the first time. Not really what the rest of us would choose to do for a family holiday but we know that’s pretty much all Sasha can cope with, and if she’s happy we’re happy!”
The Autism Page says, “We have a big holiday to stay with family in the US. So the first two weeks of our summer holidays will be entirely preparing for the holiday. Visuals, social stories, role play and photos of who we are seeing. I will be exhausted before we even go.”
Big Family Organised Chaos says, “After reading all about camping adventures, we are taking all seven camping! Tyrus seems very excited and keeps asking when he can go in his sleeping bag, who knows maybe this will be the start of actual family holidays that everyone will love!”
PDA Bubble says, “Were braving a holiday abroad after staying in UK last few years. Fully prepared to go at her pace and expect that we won’t be eating out or going very far. Our days usually start later and we do most activities in the late afternoon/evening.”
A Curious Journey says, “I’m incorporating a summer routine into our daily schedule to help increase my 2 boys’ independence before they go back to school. It’ll include things like getting their own breakfast and putting on own coats and shoes, which is difficult for them due to extreme hypermobility (but not beyond their reach). They are 7 and 4.”
Our family are off on a wonderful vacation this year. We’ve taken extended leave and are travelling for five weeks in the USA and Canada.  It’s going to be an amazing experience and I’m part proud and part petrified to be do doing it with out family.  It takes plenty preparation, even if it happens last minute for us to get around and thought about what we need to have to, avoid or what we can and can’t try.  Hopefully it will all work out – and that’s what I hope for us all this summer.  Good luck everyone, see you again next month. 
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About Ann .

“Rainbows are too beautiful,” said Anthony. “I just can’t look at them.” Ann says her son’s statement characterizes so much about how her autistic and neurotypical family interacts and interprets the world in their own wonderful way.

Originally a PR and marketing professional for the third sector, Ann now does some lecturing in this topic but spends most of her time being a full time mum and sharing her experiences through her award nominated blog. Ann’s three kids attend different schools and have multiple diagnoses including Autism, ADHD, anxiety and more. Ann is a Trustee on a local disabled children’s charity and speaks at SEND conferences and consultations.