"Many neurotypical families are able to take a spontaneous day trip if they feel they need a break from reality, but unfortunately for families with an autistic child or adult, it isnt as simple."
Daisy Chain, the Teesside-based charity, which supports autistic children, young people and adults, is providing free residential breaks to its service users during school holidays this year.
The charity has received funding from BBC Children in Need to offer two-night trips which have been specifically designed for autistic children and young people to a range of activity centres including Centre Parcs.
Participants will take part in a variety of different activities, including swimming, cycling and outdoor challenges while being supported by Daisy Chain’s highly trained staff who are experienced at ensuring activities such as this are accessible for autistic children and young people. For some, this will be their first time away from home and will provide the children and young people with the opportunity to develop friendships and learn essential life skills such as independence, budgeting and cooking.
Daisy Chain will also encourage the participating children and young people to get involved in the planning of subsequent residentials through the development of a 'My Autism My Trip' directory that allows them to rate their break and have input into the planning of future trips.
Jennifer Hewitt, head of children and family services at Daisy Chain, said: “We want to thank Children in Need for making this opportunity possibly for our families. We are very excited as it is the first time we have been able to plan a programme like this and for it be fully funded, so there is no cost barrier for families.
“Autistic children and adults, and their families, have been adversely affected by the pandemic, and being able to offer respite such as this will give them the opportunity to experience the sort of activities others take for granted whilst their parents relax or spend time with other children safe in the knowledge their child is in safe hands.
“Many neurotypical families are able to take a spontaneous day trip if they feel they need a break from reality, but unfortunately for families with an autistic child or adult, it isn’t as simple.”
In addition to the fully-booked residential programme, the funding from BBC Children in Need is enabling the charity to run a packed programme of summer trips and activities, bookings for which can be made via their website at https://www.daisychainproject.co.uk/Pages/Events/Category/holiday-activities.