After setting off in torrential rain last weekend we thought our holiday was off to a bad start. However, we were lucky and although it was cold, it stayed dry most of the time. Camping can be temperamental with our 2 ASD children, as although we can plan the places we intend to visit to give them a guide to our week away, if the weather is wet our plans may change which can cause them anxiety.
We hit jackpot with our campsite in Devon as it was on the grounds of a theme park. (http://www.woodlandsgrove.co.uk) We had free admission all week and of an evening we were able to access the adventure playgrounds which turned into a sensory playground for our kids with zip wires, drop slides, trim trails etc.
The kids enjoyed our days out, which included visits to two zoos and an aquarium. Dartmoor Zoo was a particular hit - the film 'We've bought a Zoo' is based on it and all three kids have been mesmerised by the story and now want us to buy a zoo!! Since coming back home our youngest son has used his soft toys (he has loads and bought more on holiday - they are a great tactile processing aid for him) and his plastic zoo animals to create his own zoo. Our house is covered in monkey, big cat, giraffe and elephant enclosures with water animals in the bathroom!! It is great to see his imagination whirring into action.
There were some difficult moments on holiday as well - the biggest caused by being on the beach for our youngest son. He wouldn't walk on the sand in his shoes - the texture can be a sensory nightmare for some people. He also finds it boring to just sit on the beach, as he is naturally an active child, but as he is not keen to build sand castles or explore rock pools, he finds it frustrating to be confined to a space on the beach. He would much rather be running around in a field or indulging in one of his passions like animals and dinosaurs. He also wasn't comfortable eating out as he doesn't like people looking at him and finds it too noisy with lots of distractions. He tends to shield himself these days in hooded tops. Our daughter has accumulated pages of facts from the places we visited as she likes to know everything about where we have been. It can become obsessive behaviour after awhile, but she is a fountain of knowledge.
There was no time to relax by the tent as our kids are active and on the go all the time. My chillaxing time was spent reading a book by torchlight every night in the tent and even this was to the sound of our youngest son talking to his soft toys until he finally gave in and fell asleep.
On the whole though the holiday was a success and one of our better trips away. Now we begin birthday countdown as both of our ASD children celebrate their birthdays this month.