A Glimpse into our autism: Holidays

Dear friend,

Yesterday he asked me:
Why am I like this?
He came downstairs after bedtime and stood uncertainly in the doorway. I could sense his anxiety.

I swear I felt another chink appear in my already battle scarred heart.

I didn't need to ask what he meant. The week had been filled with many small instances of confusion, anxiety and mislaid moments.

Two hands holding jigsaw pieces together



At half term we lose the familiarity that a day at school brings, we lose the structure and enter into unknown territory. We go back to walking a tightrope but negotiating the wobbles that appear on the path becomes harder because of the holiday.

A trip to the UK, on an aeroplane, staying in a different house, different bed, staying up late, going out for dinner, visiting people, shopping etc adds to the chaos. What for us is a holiday filled with fun, to him is a time filled with anxiety.
Butterfly with coloured jigsaw pieces pattern with text
He cried, his head was too full, we had done too much...

His tears were ones of desperation and exhaustion, physically and mentally.

What do you do when your child finds holidays stressful? Should you stop going away? Many autistic families do.

I can't stop seeing my family. We only return to the UK twice a year but faced with a boy in tears my choice feels selfish...


All we can do is reassure him. We have learned to restrict our trip to 4/5 days to make sure that we have a few days afterwards when he can rest and experience some normality before returning to school.

We try to bring some calm in the chaos of his thoughts...

Yesterday he asked me:
Why am I like this?
He came downstairs after bedtime and stood uncertainly in the doorway. I could sense his anxiety.

I swear I felt another chink appear in my already battle scarred heart.


A glimpse into autism is a series of short letters that explore how autism effects us on a day to day basis. Disclaimer:  this is our experience not all autistic people are the same.





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