Paddy and Christine McGuinness are celebrating the fact they’ve managed to take their 3 kids on a family holiday ???
Which sounds a bit unusual, right? After all, a mini break down the road is a given for so many of us (even if there are a few tears or tantrums along the way)…
Well, it’s certainly not a given for Christine and Paddy, whose 4-year-old twins, Leo and Penelope, have autism.
Changing up their daily routine, or taking them out of their comfort zone, can be seriously tough. The couple also have a 1-year-old daughter named Felicity.
On Instagram, both parents posted a pic of their car, filled to the roof with stuff from their house and the twins’ familiar bedding, and wrote:
“Being parents with autistic children, for us, family holidays have been a pipe dream until now!
“After 4 and a half years we’ve finally conquered a family holiday…to Preston!!! Ribby Hall Village to be exact.
“We managed 2 days there, which for us was massive. We had to take so much stuff but to see our kids having fun was well worth it.
“We had our own little bungalow/chalet which was great.”
They also wanted their success story to inspire other parents looking after children with autism.
“If you’re a parent dealing with autism on a daily basis please don’t give up hope on things like holidays,” they enthused.
“It was a hell of a long time getting there but we did it. Now all I need to do is sleep for a week!!! #easterholidays #autism #autismawareness #familyholiday #knackered”
Christine then shared a joyous selfie with her husband of 7 years, adding: “We did it!!! @mcguinness.paddy our first ever night away WITH the children!
“They coped so well with the change, very proud parents today ❤️ #autismawareness Now we just need our first night away without the children ? “
Families share their stories
Indeed, loads of parents who have children with autism could really relate to the family’s triumph – and shared their own in the comments.
“Congrats!!!” one mum wrote. “We too took our daughter Millie on our first family break away when she was 4 to Ribby Hall Village. The car was a bit like yours ?
“I think I packed everything apart from my kitchen sink but was worth all the prep and hard work to get a few days away! Now holiday means Ribby Hall for our Millie ?”
While another shared: “Well done on your break, it’s the best and sometimes much needed. We wanted a holiday abroad and although it took our autistic daughter a long time we got there.
“Over a year we had regular visits to the airport, we took our own photos to remind ourselves and to regularly talk about it.
“On the flight the air hostesses were amazing and explained everything, the whole flight my daughter kept saying “any minute we could crash and die” – tad awkward.
“We paid for extra luggage so she could have her home comforts, we paid to upgrade our rooms so it was more like home and better for her.
“She sat on the same sun lounger daily just relaxing and people watching. She still draws pictures of her holiday now ? ”
“We totally understand how you feel,” another family confessed. “Our son Casper is 7 and still struggles being away from home.
“He has sleep overs at grandma and grandads which he enjoys but finds being away from home for more than 3 days max too much.
“This year we have decided not to [go] away and just do day trips to places. He’s obsessed with trains so we do lots of train journeys for the day but come home at night so he’s back to his home surroundings where he feels safe.
“What you have achieved is massive, especially with 3. We only have one and find that a challenge. You are an inspiration.”
Share your own story
Do you have a child with autism – and have you similarly struggled to manage a family holiday or night away?
Perhaps, generally speaking, you have a little one who hates planes or trains – which makes going abroad a nightmare?
We’d love to hear your holiday stories – whatever they are. Feel free to share on Facebook, Instagram or in the comments below.
Images: Instagram/Paddy McGuinness