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>> Days out <<These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities
The first time we went to the cinema, we took the iPod and some headphones. To start off, the little girl I look after listened to her music and as she got used to the cinema, I slowly turned the music down and after a while took her headphones off
If you are planning a day out try showing the person you care for pictures of the place you are going to. Print the picture out so they can look at it for reassurance. It won't be such a shock when you go for your day out. Also worth contacting the place in advance to ask if they post out some flyers / leaflets
Autism-friendly days out
The National Autistic Society has a list of autism-friendly days out, which have been recommended by families. Many of the attractions listed offer concessions for people with special needs and/or their carers: www.autism.org.uk
Making swimming simple
Getting dry and dressed after swimming is never easy so we’ve found wearing swimming hats cuts out hair drying and makes challenging changing much quicker for us both!
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
Accessible Countryside for Everyone
Accessible Countryside for Everyone is a website that highlights accessibility to the countryside and green spaces, for leisure, recreation and sport. It lists wheelchair walks, buggy walks, easy walks, support organisations, disability sport info, camp site with disabled facilities and more. www.accessiblecountryside.org.uk
White boards for long journeys
Magnetic white boards are great for long car journeys. You can pick up small ones from supermarkets and stationers, and magnetic numbers and letters, animals etc and play without the mess of felt tips and crayons.
Free cinema tickets for carers
Does everyone know about the CEA Card? It allows people with disabilities to obtain one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema. CEA card
Distract with a trabasack
A trabasack on the lap with toys will distract children from unbelting in cars or car seats. www.trabasack.co.uk
Some soft play centres have special needs sessions. It's always worth asking.
Free trip to Legoland
For a free day out to Legoland and other places check out website Merlins Magic Wand who, with supporting evidence of your child's disability, will send out free family tickets and will also pay for transport in some cases.
It’s a good idea to role play with the person what to do if he/she gets lost, making sure they know where to find and how to present their identification card and what to say.
We can see you
When we go out to busy places with Lilly she wears a bright coloured cap for us so we can quickly see where she is at all times.
Mary Poppins back pack
I think it's important to always have little snacks and toys when you go on an outing. John loves his special Mary Popping 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.
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.
Visual timelines are really important during the holidays, as every day is different. Get a calendar for the holiday and use photographs of who is visiting and where you are going. Try and stick to some kind of routine e.g. visits out are always in the afternoon, or a soft play centre is always on the same week day.
Disability friendly park equipment
Many public parks offer special integrated play equipment. There is a wheelchair friendly roundabout (Called the Mobility Whirl) in over 200 British parks. If not sure where, contact GL Jones who designed and built them, on 01248 600372.
Most big cities have lunch time concerts – we live in London and find there are quite a few free ones if you look out for them.
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 favorite days out.
Most places have access guides – best to check it out on the internet or phone before hand: ie theatres, airports and London underground produce them.
Always ask the venue what discounts are available for disabled people and their carers. I always ask in a tone that suggests that I feel that there should be a concession. i.e. "what discounts do you have?" rather than "do you have any discounts?". Some major venues have generous discounts. Internet booking for theatre tickets is a waste of time as the websites do not allow for concessions. Always ring the theatre and ask, or call in personally if possible
For Arsenal fans: If the person you care for receives DLA then apply for a Disabled Supporters Card as this allows 1 carer to go free and for 1 discounted ticket. I am sure other clubs do the same
If you enjoy going to the cinema and the person you care for receives DLA then apply for a CEA card (cinema exhibitors association) as this allows the carer to go free. The application is on their website. www.ceacard.co.uk
Films - cheap daytime screenings
Vue cinemas do a Kids morning screening which is £1 per person (so long as you have at least 1 child with you). So cinema need not be expensive (assuming you have a Vue cinema within reasonable distance.)
Sharing hotel rooms
Our youngsters soon turn in to adults. I found out Travel Lodge, Premier Inn and Jury Inn allow 3 adults to share a family room. Ideal if you need to supervise the person you are caring for. Great for cheap short breaks.
Many hydro therapy pools in local special needs schools have out of hours sessions but they aren’t really publicised.
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