The couple, who headed to Ribby Hall Village in Preston over the Easter weekend, explained family getaways had been a “pipe dream” up until now and they encouraged other parents of children with autism to not fear going on a family holiday.
The ‘Take Me Out’ host wrote on Instagram: “Being parents with autistic children, for us, family holidays have been a pipe dream until now. After four and a half years we’ve finally conquered a family holiday. We managed two days there, which for us was massive.”
The couple both shared photos of their packed car, showing how much they had managed to fit inside. “We had to take so much stuff but to see our kids having fun was well worth it,” wrote Paddy.
The dad also used the social media platform to encourage other parents of kids with autism to not “give up hope” on things like holidays, adding: “It was a hell of a long time getting there but we did it. Now all I need to do is sleep for a week.”
His wife Christine also shared the same message on Instagram and added, alongside a selfie of her and her husband: “We did it! Our first ever night away with the children. They coped so well with the change, very proud parents today ❤️ #autismawareness.”
Many parents of children with autism commented on both posts. “So glad you had a holiday and a good time,” one mum wrote. “Completely understand what you mean in this post. We have a five-year-old son with autism and we decided a while ago we needed to go away. We started off taking him to Chessington - they are brilliant and really good with tiny details. We gradually built up to a week away at Disneyland Paris - can’t recommend it enough.”
A dad also commented: “We thought the same but our five-year-old surprised us last year. We had a holiday to Majorca and she loved the plane. Leeds Bradford Airport was amazing.”
And another wrote: “Well done guys! One thing I will say as an autism parent is never stop doing what you should be doing. Your kids will get used to it eventually and they will thank you one day for always trying. Small steps lead to big steps. It’s totally worth it.”
Have you been on holiday with your children who have autism? What made it work for you? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.