September 2, 2018
I recently came across the following quote “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ― Maya Angelou This is my new goal in life. Not to conform to be normal, but to be amazing and I hope to inspire you to be amazing too.

Our Trip To Spain

So, if you've been reading many of the posts over the past year or so, you will know we've been preparing little Mr for his first trip abroad since he was 18 months old.

He was diagnosed with ASD when he was 2.5 years and we've shied away from going for some time now. We did plan a trip 2 years ago but cancelled it at the time as we thought he wasn't ready to fly.

So, for the past 10 months or so we have been preparing him.

It's more about the space...

So, our main concern was the space. He's not great with smaller spaces and sitting for some time when there is nothing to do. He can get distressed.

So, we've been preparing him using an air museum near us. When we first started to go he hated the seating area, but over time he got used to it. Though at most we stayed for around 15 minutes which is a little short compared to the 2:30 hours flight time.

So, we were getting him used to the space but only time would tell. We had done as much as we could on this front.

Preparing the story

The next thing we tried to do was prepare him by letting him know what to expect and backed up with visual cards. We wanted to let him know about the routine of what to expect.

Now, as he is non-verbal it was difficult for us to know if he really did understand everything we explained, but we wanted to try at least get this in place.

Stay the night before

We decided to fly from Gatwick as it had a great deal and they did have some support for disabilities. So, as we live on the south coast we drove up to a hotel near Gatwick the night before.

We had an early flight, just before 6am, so we tried to get to bed as early as possible as we had a 2:45am wakeup. We then needed to get out, take the car to the car park and catch the coast to Gatwick.

The airport - Outbound

I have to say that when at Gatwick, on the way out, the special needs service did seem a little lacking. They basically didn't offer to help us through, rather seemed to be to early for them 🙂

Anyhow, after we had dropped off the bags we joined the queue for security. There was a little hiccup at this point, getting through with a young child with autism who needs to be searched is a little touchy. We managed our way through it though.

The amazing thing is, time slipped by very quickly. We had very little time from when we got into the main part of Gatwick to when we needed to walk to our gate. We barely had enough time to pick up some sandwiches.

The flight

So, we we're one of the last through the gate, but because we had a bus to the plane, the bus was full. When I booked the seats, we were right at the back, 1 row off the back - so hoping not too many people. As it happened we boarded at the rear of the plane, so that was good.

The flight was around 2 hours and 20 minutes, the first 1 hour and 30 minutes little Mr did really well, however he did have a meltdown which lasted about 20 minutes towards the end. We were surprised he did so well for most of the journey.

Once we were descending and he could see land out of the window he cheered up again and the last 15 minutes or so of the flight he enjoyed again, including the landing.

Going through the securing and picking up the bags wasn't too bad. When we got out to the coach, we were the only ones on it, so that was brilliant, and it was only 10 minutes to the resort.

The resort

We got in early, around 10am, but our room wouldn't be ready till between 12 and 1pm they told us. We put the bags into the room and changed into swimwear.

One thing little Mr loved while we were there, by the way, was the swimming pools.

So, we went swimming and hung out around the pool. We could still get drinks and the snack bar opened at 12. I checked at 12:30pm and our room was ready so we went and got into our room.

Phew, long story... 

So, to go through it quicker. The resort was a little out of the way, that did mean there was some great photo ops, and there were things around there to do (even through reviews said there wasn't???).

Nearest shop was a around a mile away, didn't need it too much.

The room was brilliant, it was big and we had a sea view. The resort was lovely. However, negatives were that the food was not to our liking, and little Mr really struggled to eat - even the chips he didn't like. We really did struggle all week with the food which did damper the holiday. 

Snacks and sugary drinks did give him some energy - and toast in the morning. We even bought some cereals that he liked.

The entertainment also was not so great. But we enjoyed the walks on an evening, so that was great. In fact, here is an image I took of my daughter on one of those walks.

Some Lovely Sunsets

Truly was a lovely place to walk and capture some images.

It was also a little hot during the day's which both our kids struggled with. We spent some fun times in the pool though which was really enjoyed by both of them.

Over all though, it was fun. The ice slush drinks, snacks and so on gave them enough liquids through the hot days. We spent some times in the room and little Mr loved his 2-3 walks a day.

Time to come home

Today it was time to come home. This meant an early start again, though not as early as when we went. Up at 6:30am for a quick breakfast. Coast at 7:50am and a 10:05am flight.

Little Mr kind of had the same flight again. He was happy at the beginning. Then around the 1 hour and 30 mins mark he had his little sensory meltdown. Once through that, the last 15-20 minutes he was fine again.

It seems that an hour and a half is that point where he finally hits that sensory point that he has a little meltdown. That said, we're happy that we tried this and pushed him into trying flying. He had issues with the food, it may have been better if it was food he knew, but he absolutely loved the pool every day. Twice a day we were in there.

When we landed we still had quite a bit of a journey to get back. He was quite happy I think to be back in the car he knew. He really lit up when we finally got home though, I think we all did. It's lovely to go away, see new places, but there's nothing like coming home to your own creature comforts.

So, what about next year?

We've been thinking about next year for a little while now. We kind of thought there would be an issue or two with some of this holiday - though I have to say that little Mr did so well.

We've been thinking on a couple of options. One of them being a cruise and another being something like a Euro Camp or Isle Of Wight... We're not set in stone yet. What ever it is though, I am sure we will all enjoy it and I will share the experience with you all.

I will be putting up a post soon with more pictures from this break, I just have to sort through them all first...

Also, if you have any suggestions of holidays then please do share them in the comments.

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I recently came across the following quote “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ― Maya Angelou This is my new goal in life. Not to conform to be normal, but to be amazing and I hope to inspire you to be amazing too.

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