The summer family getaway, you show me someone who has had one with zero stress and I will show you a big fat fibber. The age of the children and the location often determine how stressful the holiday will be, don’t take me for a cynic I’m just saying family getaways aren’t without their struggles, children arguing in backseat for hours on end, the family confined to one room with zero alone time and keeping the average child entertained for a fortnight. So what happens when an Autism family embarks on a family getaway?

As I write this we are going away to Center Parcs in four months and I don’t know what to expect. We are a family of six and to say we need a break is quite the understatement, in tow we have:

A severe non-verbal autistic boy, 3

An aspergic girl, 8

A transgender boy, 12

And a 17 year old girl in the twilight of her teenage years

Yes we are just taking the stress to a different environment but it’s a much nicer calmer environment and this just might work. Or not.

The first thing to remember is that this holiday is for the children, I honestly wouldn’t mind if we spent a fortnight at the bus station as long as the kids enjoyed it. I and my wife will take what we can from it, seeing the kids happy will be 100% worth it. I guess at this moment in time we are really lucky, we don’t have any enormous travel requests on the kids, in fact our autistic son finds car journeys very calming so that’s already a win, however I may have just jinxed it and he will utterly detest car journeys over the next few months. Damn it.

We chose Center Parcs for the same reason everybody chooses Center Parcs, it looks relaxing as hell! This was the most perfect idea we could come up with, going abroad was always out of the question. I hate flying so the notion of being hurled across the sky in a metal cylinder at God knows what speed wasn’t very welcoming. I suppose I haven’t got many worries or concerns for this holiday, my sons iPad and sensory toys are easy to pack, the place has a pool as all of the children love swimming. My Aspie Angel is very noise sensitive as is my autistic son so ear defenders will be a top priority in the packing process. We just won’t know how noisy or busy the pool will be until the day but all we can do is be prepared. There seems to be plenty to do at Center parcs and our five day stay means we have time to do a lot of it without pushing our luck with the boredom levels.

All being confined to one cabin will no doubt help breed the stress levels after a long day at the park but again I’m not too worried. The kids have to sleep sometime. Oh yeah 50% of my children don’t sleep too good therefore I will be packing numerous books to read, I am not going to rely on my phone data, I already know I’ll be having a much needed break from social media. Thanks to Center Parcs’ engulfing trees.

I’m more excited for the kids, don’t get me wrong I will welcome this holiday with open arms; it’ll beat working in the office any day. If my children and wife are relaxed then I’ll be happy.

My wife home schools our kids minus our autistic son. She deserves this holiday, she works so hard. Center Parcs thrives on relaxation, well it appears to, and so if I can get my children there and they can relax and have fun and enjoy the escape then it’ll be worth it. Everything’s worth it when you have a family like mine, the house may be a madhouse but you take it with you. It’s a madhouse I always want to be in.

Dominic writes about Beau and their family adventrures at Autism Dad