Here's our round-up of your best tips for making life easier this summer
Try it in a tent
Meals times are always a source of friction, so in the summer I put a tent up in the garden and we eat there. For some reason the change of scene is a great distraction from the food, and I get to lie down whilst he eats!
Accessible Countryside for Everyone
www.accessiblecountryside.org.uk 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.
Kids tagskidsidtags.co.uk make tags which you can attach on a belt pull or other loop on clothing. You can get any information you want printed on them – mobile phone number in case of emergencies etc. They're weatherproof & sold in packs of 3. Each tag can have the same info or different, so you can use different tags for different situations.
Buddies is a children's service run by Dimensions, that provides short breaks for children with learning disabilities during the school summer holidays. Buddies
Borrow equipmentIf you need equipment during the holidays, ask your school/college or day centre if you can borrow equipment from them, rather than hiring it.
Photo your visual timetableIf you are out and about during the holidays, and can't take your visual timetable with you, use your phone and take a photo of it
Get into a routineWithout the routine of school, holidays can be very difficult for some people. Try preparing a holiday routine – even just a basic structure, like: 'wash, get dressed, breakfast, park or some other activity, lunch, play or video, dinner, bathtime, bed with story or DVD'.
Ask for help
Don't be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Be specific – say what it is you need them to do, when and how long for.
Tourism for all
Tourism for all provides useful information on accessible holidays and places to go in the UK and abroad for people with disabilities, their carers and family. Their website also has a directory of holiday venues
Disability friendly park equipmentMany public parks offer special integrated play equipment. There is a wheelchair-friendly roundabout, Called the Mobility Whirl, in over 200 British parks. To find out more, call: 01248 600372.
Toy librariesToy libraries provide toys and play opportunities for children with special needs and also information and support for parents, carers and their siblings. To find your nearest toy library, contact the National Association of Toy and Leisure Library's Helpline Services: tel: 020 7255 4616 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Needs software
Simple games designed for touch screen computers. Free to play. www.special-needs-software.co.uk
The charity Scopeprovides a number of short break and respite care services, including residential short breaks, weekend, after school and holiday schemes and support while you are on holiday. Scope
Cinema cardIf the person you care for receives DLA you can apply for a CEA card (cinema exhibitors association) as this allows carers to go free. For an application go to:
Games, songs, communications cards, print resources and learning tools for people with disabilities.
The National Autistic Society publishes a leaflet titled Holidays: Preparation and Practicalities, with tips on preparing your child for a holiday. It includes a guide on how to explain your child’s condition in all major European languages. Call the NAS on 0845 070 4004 or visit www.autism.org.uk
Sharing hotel roomsTravel Lodge, Premier Inn and Jury Inn allow three adults to share a family room. Ideal if you need to supervise the person you are caring for. Great for cheap short breaks.
ConcessionsAlways ask about discounts for disabled people and their carers. Some major venues have generous discounts. Always ring the theatre and ask, or call in personally if possible, as concessions are not available online.
Picture thisIf you are planning a day out try showing pictures of the place you are going. 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
Magnetic white boardsMagnetic 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.
Practise getting lost
It’s a good idea to role play what to do if he/she gets lost when you're out and about, making sure they know where to find and how to present their identification card and what to say.