Looking for an autism friendly family break? Try a sensory caravan with Spectrum Holidays.
Posted on 9th June 2023 at 16:22
Spectrum Holidays was launched in 2019 by Sophia and Malcolm, following their experiences of trying to find suitable holiday accommodation for their young son. Their son is is autistic and has sensory processing differences. Neurodivergent people can sometimes find it difficult to process sensory information around them and often struggle with any change to their usual routine – this can make a holiday, with a change of environment very challenging for them. We have 2 charity sensory caravans in Northumberland that have been adapted to include a sensory area, themed bedrooms, Wifi, Sky TV and lots more home comforts. We also offer a Safe Space Bed which can be added to a booking at no additional cost. The caravans are extremely popular and school holiday dates book up to 15 months in advance.
In a bid to help more families find suitable holiday homes, and in locations they were safely able to travel to (autistic people can find long journeys too difficult to manage) we also work with existing holiday home owners and organisations to help make their properties more accessible to autistic people, their families and/or carers. Full details of the holiday home and facilities are then listed on our website so that families can make informed choices on where they would like to holiday. To help make the holiday easier, a “Spectrum Pack” of sensory toys and equipment is provided to every holiday home that is listed on the website. The pack contains popular handheld fidget and sensory toys to help autistic people regulate their sensory input and ease anxiety caused by being in a new place. We now have various accommodations available all around the UK.
Preparation is key to a successful holiday for neurodivergent people and as part of the service offered to families, a personalised visual story and countdown calendar is designed and produced for any person that stays in any of the holiday homes. Visual stories are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why. We also provide symbols and picture cards within the Spectrum pack that can be used while on holiday or taken out into the community/visitor attractions.
Spectrum Holidays became a charity in March this year and will spend the next 12-15 months raising funds in order to subsidise respite holidays for eligible people and families. In the meantime all of the properties on our website are available to rent and as a volunteer led organisation, all profit goes back in to the charity. We also work with Travel by Inspire which allows us to access Family Fund Vouchers towards the cost of a stay in our holiday homes. We are also included on the National Autistic Society's directory.
Co-Founder and Chairperson
Tagged as: Autism, Autism Friendly, Disability Friendly Holiday, Fun ideas for Special Needs Kids, Inclusive fun for all, Special Needs, Special Needs Families, Specialist Autism Holiday
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