Holidays should be fun. You look forward to holidays, don’t you?
Holidays – Introduction
You could be forgiven for wondering what on earth I am talking about. Holidays are something that most people look forward to with excitement. In our world, the world of ASD with a Demand Avoidance profile, that is just not the case. The purpose of this post is to try and give you an insight into what holidays mean to us.
Firstly, I am not just talking about the holiday where you all go away together for a period of time. I’m also talking about school holidays simply spent at home.
There are so many things to consider here that I almost don’t know where to start. So, I’m simply going to dive right in and start with siblings.
My son is a twin. He has an amazing sister who is going through all the issues of becoming a teenage girl. It wasn’t until just before the Christmas holiday one year that I discovered the impact of holidays on her world. I knew that something was wrong but she didn’t want to open up to me. We were walking home one day and I just kept trying to find out what was wrong and, all of a sudden, she started crying. She was dreading the Christmas holiday!
This was a shock to me as, most people that know me, will understand that Christmas is my favourite time of year. The thought that my daughter was dreading the festive season was really upsetting. What I discovered was that she dreaded every school holiday, not just Christmas.
When she eventually felt able to explain, it all made sense. School was her escape from the stresses of our home life. It was the time that she could be herself and be with her friends. She didn’t have to think about autism before she said something. Demand Avoidance didn’t have to be a consideration before she voiced a request. She didn’t have to plan what she did around how it would affect her brother. The thought of spending all day, everyday, for 2 weeks, at home was terrifying her!
Plan of Action
So, what to do.
Obviously this state of affairs is not acceptable. The holidays need to be a time when she can recharge her batteries. Have you noticed just how much pressure is put on our kids nowadays? It’s enormous and this means that it is incredibly important that they are able to relax over the holidays.
First of all, we established that she did want to spend time at home but, she also needed to have time away to look forward to as well. Luckily we have great family.
One set of grandparents live in Dorset, near the sea. Where possible, she goes for a visit for a few days in the holiday which then also gives her the opportunity to see her cousins. This also has the benefit of allowing us the opportunity to see them too. We don’t get down there as often as we would like so this is a definite bonus.
The other set of grandparents live much nearer which makes it much easier to get her over there. This means that it’s even possible for her to go there for just the day if she’d like. This is easier to accommodate in the much shorter half term holidays as the journey is much shorter.
Then we have my brother and sister in law. They have been amazing as my daughter has been to stay with them and she loved it! They also come over and take both the kids out from time to time which is great as my husband and I don’t get much time together, on our own, at all, as my son hasn’t been in school since September last year.
Mother Daughter Time
This challenge has resulted in an increase in mother daughter time. We are currently looking forward to a trip to Hobbycraft tomorrow. This will be extra special as we are also taking her best friend and her mum with us. It’s going to be a proper girly craft day. We’ve already had a trip, with Grandma, to Copenhagen which was amazing (picture at the top). In the pipelines are a mother daughter short cruise and a trip to Boston…. Exciting times ahead.
So far, the extra effort and awareness is working and I hope that she is, once again, looking forward to school holidays.
The next post is going to be about family holidays, something that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. Please drop me a comment to let me know what holiday challenges you face.
Stay strong because you are amazing.