If you’re reading this, no doubt when it comes to planning holidays – or just getting out of the front door - preparation is essential. However, it’s impossible to cover every eventuality as a SEN parent. Even if you plan and prepare until you’ve written an entire white paper.

We are just back from a wonderful holiday to our favourite place. We go here because not only do we love the location and it’s not too far, it’s great for our children, particularly our son Brody who has disabilities. It’s a one storey building with a quiet beach a very small distance away. There are also numerous equally quiet soft-play centres and adventure parks locally. (The ice cream factory two miles down the road might also have something to do with it).

As amazing as our holiday haven is, it’s impossible for us to predict the challenges that we might face along the way. Life with a child with disabilities is unpredictable as we all know.

Here are just a few challenges we encountered…

Inadequate toilet changing facilities

Changing Brody whilst out one time included all 4 of us - plus a buggy - crammed in to a small disabled toilet. Then another time attempting to lay him on a baby changing table with a hand dryer going off due to lack of space. He is sensitive to loud noises so you can imagine the joys of this. We settled with changing him in the car boot for the rest of the holiday. This is of course why we need more Changing Places and Space for Change facilities.

Sensory Processing Issues

You’ve got to love SPD. It’s always there and masterful at being both predictable and unpredictable. For example, whilst eating lunch out, a worker decided to start hoovering the floor. Queue meltdown. This is where we made the decision that we should probably now purchase some ear defenders (must add to that never-ending list).

Other examples of this include us driving to a gorgeous but massively windy sandy beach, with the wind being too much for our boy. And then food (the look of and smell) on various occasions making him gag whilst out and about. Joyous.

Disabled Unfriendly Play Areas

There are always too many of these aren’t there? At one adventure play park there was a bouncy castle. No adults were allowed on and there were a lot of children already on it. It was just too busy to ask and for us to manage it so we had to walk on by.

Sleep – or lack thereof

We slept in different bedrooms (ah the romance) with a child each and Brody’s bed pushed up against a wall so that he couldn’t fall out. His body clock unfortunately doesn’t switch to holiday mode so 5am rise and shine it is.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Seriously, sandy beaches and gravel paths don’t mix with wheelchairs.

I could go on. However, we honestly did have the best time. And do you know why? Because we have learnt to just go with the flow. If that means leaving somewhere after 10 minutes, so be it. We try and have a plan B and use that.

Yes, sometimes it can be deflating. Ask me after we’ve taken him to Thomas Land in July – which we are hoping he’ll love. When you take your child somewhere thinking they’re going to love it and it doesn’t work out, it can be disappointing - because you’re happy when they are. And that’s exactly it. The thing to remember. We learn. We adjust. And we move on.

So remember, if plan A fails, the alphabet has 25 more letters!

Read more of Laura's blogs at Brody, Me and GDD.

Laura is making it her mission to get supermarkets to stock affordable nappies in larger sizes for disabled children, support Laura's Petition here.