This post was originally published on Firefly Community. Hop over there to see the original, and to read loads of other amazing blog posts.
Over the past eight years I have been taking part in a social experiment called the School Summer Holiday.
It appears to be a double blind trial, I have no idea of the results, the purpose of the study, or which group I’ve been assigned to.
Foolishly believing I had firsthand experience in this area, with two older children, I volunteered, only to find that nothing prepared me for the special needs version.
I do not appear to be able to ‘withdraw from the study at any time’ which I’m pretty sure breaks medical ethics, but I’m not clear who I can complain too.
I offer this then, dear reader, as a template of how not to plan for the summer holiday with an additional needs child.
Look at Instagram. Behold the beauteous horde, resplendent in their immaculate houses.
Marvel at the amazing places they take their children on a daily basis. No Lunchables or MackyDs for these families, even the chicken nuggets are home made.
Keep them at the front of your mind. This is what your holiday can look like.
Remember all the improving therapies you should be doing with your child. I’m not talking about the maintenance stretches, chest physio or medications you already do on a daily basis.
You have a 6 week period of ‘block therapy’ ahead of you.
I personally always start the holiday with two aims, firstly toilet training small person followed by teaching her how to talk.
Sometimes I write a structured plan to follow!
Remain positive at all times.
Remember the Daily Mail does not like Slummy Mummys. Who are these ogres, I hear you cry?
Why women who sometimes find parenting difficult and attempt to use humour, honesty and peer support to get through. Do not be like these women.
It is imperative that you glide swan like through the summer holiday, and that you push any feelings of sadness, worry or failure, deep, deep down, and hide them with a well-made up smile.
I have followed these guidelines so you do not have to .You are most welcome.
I can tell you now that they are ill thought out, unsustainable and do nobody any good.
This holiday I aim to make sure we are all clean (enough) and fed.
I will smell my child’s head at least once a day. I will ensure the iPad is thoroughly charged.
We will meet up with some other parents who are in the same tribe and have a whinge, a laugh and some fun.
We will go outside and get fresh air, and also treat the Supermarket as an exciting place to visit.
I will not feel guilty that I hate swimming. I will lower my standards.
We will muddle through.
Oh. And I absolutely will not use this new list as a measure for success.
Good luck all .
See you on the other side…
If you find caring challenging check out the resources at Carers UK for support and community links.