Netbuddy have created a fantastic pack full of tried and tested tips from parents and carers who are supporting children and adults with complex needs this half-term. Here are just 10 of the great tips from the pack:
- Prep for outings – When attempting a new activity or outing, e.g. horseriding, theme park etc., prepare in advance by showing pictures, books, leaflets & talking about it. We have found YouTube invaluable as most venues & activities are in video form. Also many attractions have apps you can use.
- Take a camera – We went to Nymans Gardens recently and my son Toby walked so quickly that we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful surroundings. In his head, a walk means a walk to somewhere. Half way round we gave him our digital camera and he slowed down to take loads of photos. We will now always take a spare camera with us!
- Separate outings bag – I keep a separate outings bag always packed and ready to go with a change of clothes, pads and wipes etc. I just need to add snacks and off so then I’m not flying around at the last minute when going out.
- Reserve a parking spot – Lots of places have reserved disabled parking in their staff car parks. Phone ahead and try and book yourself a spot.
- Just ask! – Most attractions offer disabled discounts, special access, carers-go-free solutions, but carers often don’t ask for it. Please do ask whenever you are visiting any facility as it can save you a small fortune.
- Remembering days out – Make it easier to communicate about days out – use a camcorder or camera phone and scrapbook to record special moments that you can look at together at the end of the day. Use a scrapbook to tell other people about favourite days out.
- Planning ahead – I think it’s important to always have little snacks and toys when you go on an outing. John loves his special Mary Poppins back pack where we keep his favourite things which I use to comfort and calm him if it all becomes too stressful or noisy for him. I put in his Nintendo, a toy, a book, drink, snack/treat and also a walkman so he can listen to a story or music.
- Transporting medication – If we are going to be out of the house when my son’s evening meds are due, instead of taking the bottles with us, we measure the meds out in a syringe and pop them in one of his old glasses cases to transport them (it holds 2 syringes perfectly!)
- Radar key – Get a radar key. These cost just a few pounds and are usually available
from town halls and tourist information centres. They save us from queuing at public toilets, and are often cleaner and of course more spacious.
- Getting lost – If you are going to a theme park, and are worried about loosing the person you are caring for, when you get there take them to the guest services and introduce them. Also write your contact details on a piece of paper and put in their pocket.
We hope they will help you plan a harmonious half-term holiday!
What are your top tips for caring for children and adults with complex needs this half-term? Let us know in the comments below.