14 Dec

This is the post where I try to explain why I never want to take my child with Aspergers on holiday ever again.

 Most of you will know me as the mother who is first to state that, ‘Just because a child is on the autism spectrum, doesn’t mean they should not be given the opportunity to enjoy life’s pleasures such as day trips and holidays’ I stand by this, really I do!

 Now, I will try my best to put into words what I can only describe as one of the hardest, emotional draining and tiring, three days of my entire life.

 This past weekend saw me on the edge of a breakdown as myself, good friend Donna and three children (Little Man aka A boy with Aspergers, Alice-Sara & Harley) embanked on a mini weekend Christmas break at Butlin’s Bognor Regis.

 I had been extremely lucky to be invited to the tots100 Christmas party which meant an awesome deal on accommodation and presented me with the opportunity to also bring along the family. I will talk more about the Tots100 Christmas party and Butlin’s itself in another post, right now I need to get this out my system!

 It’s never easy taking Little man on days out and its even harder trying to embark on any type of Holiday no matter how short or long it maybe. The change and the anxiety mixed with the unknown often brings about havoc, and if you have ever read any of my post relating to such event’s you will already know this (remember the camping trip or even the day trip to Chessington)? 

 Nonetheless, when stating like many do “Never again” I somehow never really mean it and with passing time I find myself trying to do it all over again! Why? Because his my son and I don’t want to leave him behind!

 Despite things starting reasonably well (his delight over the funky hotel lighting which was a sensory pleasure was most welcome) things soon turned sour and within an hour or so all hell had broke loose.

 OK, Ok, I half expected this! After all we have just arrived, everything is different and a mix of both anxiety and excitement fills the air. 

 After a soak in the bath, just before heading to bed he started to argue with his sister. I know arguments between siblings are the norm with most children, but these really are over the top, Little man becomes far to angry and loses his temper rapidly. Worse still his now able to throw an almighty punch. On trying to break up yet another blow up that had become somewhat out of hand, Little man thought he would also hit out at me, not only punching but kicking me too. His not a baby anymore and his growing which I guess kind of worries me if I think about it!

 No, this isn’t good, I don’t show him that I’m frighten of him, I’m actually not, I’m just worried that one day he will go that bit too far!

I don’t like having to restrain my own son but it did have to be done before he hurt himself or somebody else, it was then he spat in my face and then laughed inappropriately. 

 The fact that his violence stopped and I thought we were over this hurdle makes this so much harder.

 After lots of tears Little man finally slept and I convinced myself that as the days went on things would get better, however they didn’t and despite trying to structure all the activities his need to control everything and everyone around him was just too much. Yes, I know things are hard for him, but there were stages of that holiday that I felt like running away especially when he carried on hitting out at me leading me to seek first aid for what was a suspected broken finger (I had pointed at him and he had hurt my fingers so bad I had no choice but to get them strapped up). This was the last day and in all honesty I was so thankful it was. By now I had cried till my eyes were sore and seriously felt like smacking my own head repetitively against the wall. 

 Harley also spent the best part of his second birthday amongst meltdowns and my pleads for a little respect and if anything a five-minute break. I know many people will think, “It’s hard for him too” Believe me I know that, of course I do! I didn’t care about the disapproving stares as Little man hauled abuse at me, I did however feel terrible for the children stood in ear shoot of his language. There was even one episode that resulted in me having to leg it out of a local fish restaurant leaving my poor friend with three kids, one who wasn’t in the friendliest of moods. 

I sat on a bench looking at the sea and really felt like I couldn’t return and carry on with this job called “Parenting”. I left a message on my Facebook page which read, “I don’t think I can cope with Little man’s behaviour anymore” and at that moment in time, I really did feel this way.

 My friend said something to me as we sat talking in the hotel once the children were finally sleeping, she said “I can honestly say I have never seen Little man 100% happy unless his indoors” I thought about this and realised just how right my friend was.

 Once we did finally return home, a lot later than expected following unexpected car trouble (the word unexpected is not one little man favourites) I noticed how his mood calmed! Yes, he fights with his sister in the comfort of our home and yes he can still be abusive, but as I sat watching him cuddling his younger sister watching the end of Eastenders (yes, cuddling, the cheek of them, I know) I realised that in-order to parent and parent Little man well, It needs to be at home (well, at home meaning not on holiday)! I’m not stating I’m NEVER TAKING HIM ON HOLIDAY AGAIN! Though I did state this more than 1000 times during the course of the weekend, I’m just stating that for now, and in-till there are clear signs of improvement in this type of challenging behaviour and yes, my ways in coping and dealing with it, I will not be booking any family holidays in the near future… and that my friends is a ‘FACT’!

10 Responses to “NEVER EVER AGAIN”

  1. clairelouise82 December 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    It’s not a fatal mistake because he wants to go on holiday, days out etc, he will tell you that himself, he just finds it hard to cope with the sudden changes and pressures.

  2. Autistics Aware December 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    You made the fatal mistake of assuming that your son should experience “life’s pleasures”. You are not aware that you are inflicting on him the pleasures that you seek out in life. Re-think that from another perspective. Just because you would feel deprived if you were forced to sit in a dark room for a month with Lego, doesn’t mean others can’t find it to be a fascinating privilege. It’s okay, you’re a good parent, you just need to shift your perspective.

  3. The Boy and Me (@TheBoyandMe) December 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Oh I feel for you I really do. This much be so hard and so very upsetting for you. Ever since I became a parent as well as a teacher I have tried so hard not to judge any parent or child if I see a situation kicking off, as you don’y know what the back story is. *Big hug*, hope your finger is ok?

  4. Susan Scott Byrne December 15, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    My son used to behave this way, and it was very difiicult getting him through a school day without being sent home. We were able to get him a correct IEP, and a diagnosis, and began seeking out counseling and social and behavioral skill builders classes. The counselors helped to identify the triggers that would cause him to escalate, and begin to address them before he had a chance to meltdown. He still has some bad days, but nothing like he had in the past, and he is now conversing much more easily, with eye contact, and able to read most facial expressions or body language. I highly recommend finding a social and behavioral skills therapist or group, it will help your child to handle frustration and be able to connect and enjoy activities with others more easily, and help you to be able to diffuse situations, I know it helped us a lot, my child is now seen in a totally different light by others as a result. I highly recommend the book, Be Different by John Robision, he has Aspbergers, and writes from the perspective of an Aspie. His first book, Look Me in the Eye, was a true eye-opener for me into my son’s world. Best wishes to you.

  5. Donna Smith-emes December 15, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Totally with you. Holidays = nightmare. Ds aged 10 is so violent when meltdown zone appears to the degree he’s tried strangling me and his siblings😦 I hate that moment. Last holiday meltdown in Morrisons when I was left with no choice but to restrain him left me selling front row tickets😉 the tuts were awful it was at that moment I vowed NEVER again. We’re away with family at Christmas but at least we’ll be with understanding family. Take care of you too!

  6. Karen -AspergersMom December 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    This is not unfamiliar at all. Mine have never had meltdowns where they hit me…but they hit each other. My youngest is particularly anxious when we travel. The oldest is just darn right ugly…taking away from the point of a “vacation”. I have left one of them at home. Or sent one to a relative instead of taking both. It is simply not any fun for anyone when we have the 2 of them together 24/7 in an unknown environment. What we may think is our idea of fun just very well may be their idea of a total nightmare. Hugs to you from across the miles.

  7. Lelia Rose Foreman (@LeliaForeman) December 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    I’m sorry. Some days are just hell. I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  8. Shellie December 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    I feel your pain. I have been through this so many times before. I have 3 children with asd, the eldest has aspergers and calls all the shots! He is 13 now and it isn’t getting any easier, puberty changes the whole dynamics over again. My best days are when I parent a child with aspergers rather than expecting him to be neuro-typical. My worst days are when we go out for the day and holidays – well. Watch this space – we are off on sunday for a week!

  9. Caroline December 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Totally understand.

  10. Gavin Bollardg December 14, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    That sounds terrible. I hope you are all ok.

    He was obviously over-stimulated but he really needs to work on recognizing and dealing with his triggers.

    The older he gets, the stronger he will get and the more likely he will be to do damage which could land him in a bad place. (or attract retaliation from the wrong sort of people).

    I wonder if there are any social programmes you can get him into? It sounds like he could benefit from a non-parent social teacher.

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