When you're a parent of a child with Special Needs, picking holiday destinations is hard. You want a holiday for all the family and that includes the child who needs a little more support than the rest.
Depending on the type of special needs, depends on what special extras are needed and what needs to be thought about. Every parent of a child with Special Needs knows that no child is the same. Sadly many others don't understand this and pigeon hole a child at first glance, often resulting in the words 'sorry we can't accommodate such needs'. This can make life finding childcare difficult in their home country, let alone abroad.
I recently wrote a top 5 round up of what you need to think about when taking a child with SEN, take a look about it by clicking here.
Mark Warner's One on One special needs childcare...
The aim of a Mark Warner holiday is fun for all. They really have put a lot of thought into what is included in their holidays and what ALL of their customers need and want, old and young. They spend a lot of time liaising with current and past clients about what they liked and disliked about their holidays, so that they can improve their services. It seems nothing is too much to ask for this holiday company and it makes them stand out from the crowd winning plenty of awards in the travel industry along the way.
Their one on one special needs childcare is a unique feature for their children's clubs. They feature a specialist childcare assistant who will be assigned to the child with special needs for the whole time they're booked into the club. This meaning the parents get a break and the child gets to make new friends and have the same holiday experience as their siblings or peers.
For a parent of a child with special needs, this is a breath of fresh air.
The specialised members of the Mark Warner childcare team are able and willing to learn about your child's needs and put in place any needs they may have before they attend the club. This giving the parents peace of mind that their child is in good hands.
*note: in some highly specialised cases cooperation with the parents will be needed for medical procedures and certain activities*
How does it work on resort?...
Each day you will have a run down of the next days events. If any aren't suitable for your child's needs, like any onsite childcare, you have no obligation to keep them in the club. They can simply sit that activity out and re-join you for some pool time and re-join the group before the next suitable activity.
They will have their specialist childcare assistant with them at all times during their time in the club. If they are found to be struggling with an activity, they will simply and discreetly, ask them if they'd like to watch or do a different part of the activity. This keeping them included and feeling less separated from the group.
The aim of this service is for everyone to have a great time and if that means giving you or your child a little extra help, Mark Warner are pleased to do that.
How to enquire and book?...
This service needs to be booked via their customer service team on 0844 273 6347.
The destinations in which the service is available is limited to Lakitira Beach Resort, Kos, & Lavente Beach Resort, Rhodes in Greece and San Lucianu Beach in Corsica. This is based on the areas in which the specialists work. Although there is less choice, they are beautiful resorts and so it's not all bad.
Spaces are limited so you need to book as far in advance as possible so you don't miss out. I suggest ringing in advance of deciding dates so that you know that it is available before booking. You can book over the phone once you've secured the dates, which makes life easier.
Whilst on the phone they will ask you what would be needed for the child and in some cases what stages and so on the child is at. You can discuss the best age group the child should be in and whether this will be best on both sides. Don't worry the staff deal with these enquiries all the time so feel free to ask as many questions as you need. if they don't know, they'll find out for you. From there, they will let you know all the different aspects they can offer your needs and you can get booking.
It's quite simple isn't it.
Parent to Parent Advice...
As a parent of an 'almost teen' with Down Syndrome, we are well on the way to being holiday planning experts but only in our own field and for our own child. I would never wish to pretend that I knew anything about any other SEN child, even those with Down Syndrome, because they are all so different. You know your child the best and only you will be able to understand their needs for an occasion such as a holiday.
When booking your SEN assistant with Mark Warner, be as open and honest as you can. The more you can tell them the more prepared they'll be for your child.
If they believe that they can't help you in the full way they can help others, then don't be offended, try and find a way of working together. They really are willing to listen and accommodate as a company, they want to help you enjoy their holidays as much as you want to enjoy them. Even if it just respite for a short period of time each day because the rest of the activities aren't suitable, at least you'll be able to have a break and them a bit of fun away from their old folks. You may have to nip in to do some everyday medical things but what's new? That is life for us no?! The rest of the time they're having fun with new friends, so you're still getting a break and visa versa.
If you don't book it, don't expect it. They can't accommodate a child with additional needs with one to one unless they are told in advance because they simply won't have the staff on to do so or the knowledge to do so. If you know your child has extra support to do the type of activities they want to do on holiday in your everyday life, they'll need the same in the Kidz Club. So book it and enjoy the love.
It doesn't cost anything extra to book, you're just limited to certain destinations and availability... but that is not much of a hardship for a family holiday in which amazing memories will be made for all involved. I know that for me, I'm happy to book way in advance if I knew we were going to be getting such amazing support.
I'll be back soon with a full review and run down of the service, so keep checking back to find out how Kyd gets on and what he really thinks of the club and his assistant from the horses mouth.