Taking two young children on holiday is always a challenge, as a single parent it’s even more demanding but when one is on the Autism spectrum it can feel near impossible. I was given the opportunity to apply to become a Butlins Ambassador when I attended an event last year. I chatted with the representatives there and explained my worries; having a child that needs routine, that gets overwhelmed easily and will run off at any opportunity (and that’s just my NT son!) They assured me that if I were to be successful that I would find a holiday style that suited us. I signed up not feeling hopeful but found out some time later on that I had been chosen. I was of course thrilled, having a child with a disability is tough but it shouldn’t stop anyone enjoying a “normal” family holiday.
We chose to visit the Bognor Regis site on the south coast in the hopes of a glimpse of sunshine and we chose the stylish Wave hotel as our base. We really um’d and ah’d as to whether a chalet would be best with cooking facilities but when we discovered we had a Dine Around pass for the whole family (breakfast and dinner provided) we thought sod it and went for the swish hotel.
When we arrived on Monday evening it was busy, so busy that we couldn’t get a disabled parking space and had to unload at the door and drive around to another car park but thankfully the next day a space appeared right outside the door, phew.
Check in was smooth and the two adjoining rooms (for we three and the grandparents) were fantastic. The kids loved their bunk beds but we decided to split them into two separate rooms as the top bunks are far too high for either of them at their young age.
They were both particularly impressed with the built in TV DVD’s and in-bed light switches however maybe an external parent control might be an idea as trying to sneak in late at night to turn it off was a bit of a trauma.
We headed down for a quick dinner at The Deck restaurant which is our dinner and breakfast staple with the opportunity to try the others (Turners, Papa Johns and The Beachcomber.) We were advised to book our other visits as they can get busy and book out which we did the next morning after a scouring of the what’s on when guide. We got to the Deck a bit late and inevitably with a buffet style it was the tail end of the food however the option to have the grill was still available and all the staff were happy to see us and explain the procedure.
That night was a little difficult as the little lady struggled to settle in the new environment with the ability to simply leave her room when she felt like it (at home we have a strict stairgate rule) so we were up late into the early hours and then up again at the crack of dawn.
Other than having a tough night with the kids we got up the next morning excited for the rest of our trip, what we had seen albeit in the dark and on paper had us excited, we just had to see how Butlins and our family worked.