Holiday activities for older teenagers?

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
Here in Scotland, schools and colleges close towards the end of June and open back up towards late August. Filling the holidays is the ultimate logistic challenge for any parent-carer, especially as my sons favourite and most effective PA has headed off to Canada for a working holiday for a few months break. I've recently recruited a new PA, Jamie, an amiable young man whom my son got to know last summer on his Euro-Leader trip to Finland, but as Jamie lives some way away he will be partly living in with us for a few days at a time, and partly the boys will be exploring Scotland using youth hostels and the free bus pass/companion pass. I'll be keeping a close eye on them for the first few weeks to make sure things work out well.

This week my son has been attending the Edinburgh International Film festival as part of an Open Access course organised by the University, which was a good idea given the very wet weather.

However this year we are also adopting a nautical theme and staying in Scotland: next weekend we are off to Oban training in sailing skills with a friend of the family on his boat, and then in July we have taken the plunge and are renting a 28' yacht on Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal for a week of boyhood adventure, fly fishing, monster-spotting and jolly BBQ's by the lochside (doubtless attacked by hordes of midges) .

So, what are your plans to keep the teenagers amused for the long holidays?
There is a meeting at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday from 4 until 8. This is for the MP's to watch a film about DMD one of the older boys has made and a chance for us to get in the MP's faces and ask them when are they going to start providing support for older boys/young men with DMD. So we'll be going to that.

Its our 30th Wedding Anniversary (Pearl) on Monday (and the 2nd anniversary of my dad's death) so the 3 of us will be going out for a meal or something. Other folk who aren't carers get to do something romantic together but we've no chance Image

We can't go anywhere as a couple unless Rob is at Rachel House. We can't go on holiday because we can't find anywhere that has a ceiling hoist and the other equipment he needs.

We can't go on holiday ourselves when he is at Rachel House because if they need the bed in an emergency we will have to go and pick Rob up and bring him home.

If someone could come up with some ideas for stuff we can do with a severely physically disabled, ventilator dependent 27 year old that we haven't already done I would certainly be grateful! You can only visit the Science Centre so many times before it gets boring!

Eun
We own a steam roller and traction engine (about 10 tons each) so our summer holidays have always focussed on steam rallies. Fortunately although our son was brain damaged at birth, it only affects his mental capabilities, he's fit as a flea and very strong, with endless energy. If you've never been to a rally before, wear "play" clothes and good stout walking shoes. Take a rucksack to put your bits and bobs in. If you Google "National Traction Engine Trust" you will find a list of approved rallies. The largest show is always the Great Dorset Steam Fair at the end of August. If you've never been before, plan to arrive by 9 o'clock so you are parked near the pay gate and avoid the queues. There is so much to see and do, live music tents, autojumble, wonderful craft tents, etc. Loads of food outlets, and I can recommend the blackberry and clotted cream ice creams there! The show usually closes around midnight! Hopefully the weather is going to improve soon, I really hate rallying in the mud!!
Unfortunately we can't get anywhere by 9am. Home helps come to get son out of bed at 7am (our day starts at 6.15am) and don't have him ready until 9am at the earliest. He then has to be fed and clean his teeth so we can't get out the door before 10.30 at a push Image

Eun
Oh Scally, you had to go and mention the summer holidays didn't you ? Image Image

I have 3 teenagers, one with disability, and a disabled Hubby who doesn't like to leave the house!
Trying to find activities suitable for all is a nightmare!
I've been putting a little cash to one side so the big two can have days out, and hopefully the youngest will manage the odd trip to the cinema
We have been invited to a wedding down south in August, transport and accommodation is arranged,(staying with family and he is willing to drive us there and back) it would only be for 3 nights, so fingers crossed at the moment.
Apart from that, I'm afraid I'm burying my head in the sand for now. Image
When my son was about 8 years old, my friends and I started a charity for any child with special needs. We all dreaded the summer holidays, lack of activities etc. so in the end we hired the local youth club, a wonderful purpose built building, for a fortnight. Usually towards the end of the summer holiday when everyone was getting weary. There was a sports hall, as well as quieter areas. All the family were welcome, not just the child with special needs; but mums had to stay with their children. I was in overall charge, but one person would take on responsibility for organising one activity, a different one every morning and afternoon. We managed to get some grants so there was no charge. We had enough for face painting, a singer, a magician, the play bus came several times, we made and cooked pizzas etc. Families could go home for lunch, or bring packed lunches; they didn't have to stay all day. The special kids loved it; the parents loved having a chance to meet and chat with each other; and the brothers and sisters of the special children also met each other and have fun too. We also had a benefits adviser from the DWP one day,who was brilliant, helping individuals. If you are dreading the summer holidays why not see if you can find a few other parents interested in doing something similar?
When my son was about 8 years old, my friends and I started a charity for any child with special needs. We all dreaded the summer holidays, lack of activities etc. so in the end we hired the local youth club, a wonderful purpose built building, for a fortnight. Usually towards the end of the summer holiday when everyone was getting weary. There was a sports hall, as well as quieter areas. All the family were welcome, not just the child with special needs; but mums had to stay with their children. I was in overall charge, but one person would take on responsibility for organising one activity, a different one every morning and afternoon. We managed to get some grants so there was no charge. We had enough for face painting, a singer, a magician, the play bus came several times, we made and cooked pizzas etc. Families could go home for lunch, or bring packed lunches; they didn't have to stay all day. The special kids loved it; the parents loved having a chance to meet and chat with each other; and the brothers and sisters of the special children also met each other and have fun too. We also had a benefits adviser from the DWP one day,who was brilliant, helping individuals. If you are dreading the summer holidays why not see if you can find a few other parents interested in doing something similar?
Not wishing to put a dampener on things at all BB but I fear the notorious 'elf and safety brigade would have something to say about this, even if it was being done on a non-professional basis?
Also it is a different kettle of fish with the teenagers, a much more awkward mob to keep happy!

In answer to Scally's question, it is something I don't have to think about now as caree is not at home. There are not masses of activities in our borough for teenagers with physical and learning disbailites but to be truthful, the main stumbling block was my daughter.
She was often disinterested in doing anything physical or even trips to the cinema etc, she had very little get up and go sometimes! She recently went trampolining which apparently was a one off but more encouragingly, she has ridden a bike for the first time ever. I hope it is the start in an interest in a bit of physical activity, might spark her interest in getting out and about.
I fully understand concerns about "Elf and Safe Tea" (that's the way it's written on a friend's high viz waistcoat). However,

1) Our group met in a purpose built youth club building.
2) Parents had to stay with their children at all times.
3) It was arranged with the full knowledge and approval of Social Services.
4) We had insurance cover.
5) It was members only (I think membership was only £1!)

I think because parents had to be there at all times, that meant we could avoid a lot of otherwise onerous requirements which apply to the usual summer playschemes. In effect, it was an all day coffee morning.

The group also organised outings to the Isle of Wight, Swanage Railway etc. and we became so well known as being "forward thinking" that our reputation spread into adjoining counties as well. In the process, it revived my seriously damaged self confidence, and I subsequently went on to study for an honours degree in Business Studies. Every single mum was better off once we'd sorted out our benefits, and we became a close knit group of about 20-30 mums, which sorted out the isolation problems we all had. These are the hidden benefits of activities like this. It wasn't actually my idea at all, but one of the other mums, who also did lots of work towards it, but as Chairman of the charity, I was the "leader" - usually in the kitchen washing up etc., that's my management style!
Audrey,
Whilst older teenagers without disabilities would probably not be seen dead with their parents, it's very different for those with severe learning difficulties, like my son. At the age of 33, he can only do some things at pre school level, so the physical and mental ages can be very different. Faced with the option of nothing but me (by this time of the holiday worn out by a month of incessant demands from a hyperactive six footer) or going out and being entertained all day, seeing his friends, the latter was very welcome. The Youth Club building had loads of outside space and I think one of the dads did some football or similar (whilst I was inside) and on another afternoon a well known local guitarist / singer entertained us in the field, a sort of afternoon campfire. There was always a choice of activities, so those who didn't like football could watch a video, or paint, or draw etc. etc. I can honestly say that these were some of the happiest times I had throughout my son's childhood years. Clearly, those with physical disabilities, but normal mental abilities, would have hated every minute! It's really important that we share our very different experiences, in the hope that something someone mentions would benefit another mum. Holidays are supposed to be fun, but for me, they were hell. One year, I took my son in to school on the first day of the new school year. His kind teacher took one look at me, and ordered me to go home, make a coffee, and spend the rest of the day in bed - I looked that exhausted!
Mike no longer lives with us, but when he did, from his early teens onwards we made sure that he had some external support - that is, a worker to take him to local amenities or schemes. Without us. We knew it was vital to his development that we could not treat him as a smaller child.

The only way to prepare him for a future without us was to start the independence journey as early as we could get the authorities to see the point.