So, I should probably start by introducing myself and how I came up with the idea for this blog and what I intend to cover. Well! I became a travel agent in 2002 when I was the tender age of 20 (feels like a lifetime ago). I fast came to realize I had found my calling, my thing, my niche!
I loved everything about it. I loved the constant learning and evolving you have to do to suit your market as well as the people. See, I’m a talker and so love hearing people’s stories. But mostly, what I loved, was the joy you could bring to people. The look of relief and elation they got when you would produce an itinerary more than what they could imagine. They would come to me with an idea and we as travel agents have a huge responsibility to create a dream. To ensure that every single penny worked as hard as the client had done to earn it.
Above and beyond was my standard, that’s just how I am. Some might call it ‘being extra’! Hehe. Call it whatever you want, I loved that buzz, the planning – I do love a list!
Towards the end of my career I also spent almost a year working for customer welfare department of a major U.K. tour operator. Assisting on average 100 calls a day really opened my eyes to how intense and anxious people can become trying to organize what to others is a simple holiday.
Fast forward some years and here I find myself with 3 kids (I still don’t feel old enough) 2 of which have additional needs. Calum has Oppositinal Defiant Disorder (ODD) and ADHD, while Jasmine has ASD with echolalia. With Calum, waiting and queuing can be a nightmare. Jasmine is a very happy little girl but has very, very little cognitive understanding and is a runner. And of course, I couldn’t forget my baby Saoirse. My clever, funny little nutter, two going on fifteen! Well toddlers come with a whole host of requirements of their own!!!!
As a Mom to children who’s needs are all different, the joy I find in planning a day out let alone a holiday is nowadays that bit harder, that bit more intense. There are so many variables to take into account. There’s all sorts to take into consideration when you have a child with additional needs everything from and not limited to….
Where can meet their needs or can be at least adapted to?
How open it is? (Very important if you have a runner like me).
Is there enough to keep them entertained without being overstimulated?
How are we going to get there? Will there be too long queues?
How long will it take?
How can they be entertained en route?
We are all trying to prevent the dreaded and too frequently experienced meltdown. The list seems to just go on and on and on and I haven’t even mentioned anything about food intolerance’s/allergies, peg feeds or mobility issues many of which a lot of parents need to think about.
I constantly see other parents asking for advice in Facebook groups but this can be as harmful as it can be helpful to the wrong person as a lot of this information can be based on opinion and personal experience good or bad.
Taking all this into account, I came to realize, that there’s not that much clear information out there in an easy find way. As a special needs parent, I know what I need to put in place for my child, as a former travel agent I know what can be put in place and how to get it or at least where to ask. Not many people have this privilege.
The sheer amount of research needed can be so overwhelming for some the fear is enough to make you just stay at home and hide under the duvet. This led me to make the decision to do something about it and create a space that provides all you need to have the confidence you can do it, you can live a little bit close to normality.
I want give you the tools to know you can ensure your special needs child is well catered to, as well as the rest of the family too. Let’s face it we all need the break! Let me help you make that happen.
So, hit the follow button, run and buy a notebook (love a notebook a bit more than I should) and get ready to see just how easy it can be to have the best days out, weekend breaks or annual family holidays with your family.