Family holidays with autistic children: Report of key findings

Raphaela Stadler, Allan Jepson, Brian Garrod

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Family holidays are often viewed as a highlight of the year: precious times to make memories, have fun together and bond with each other. They can, however, be particularly stressful experiences for autistic children, as well as for family members accompanying them. Most previous research on family holiday experiences has assumed that the family members are ‘neurotypical’. This research was undertaken to better understand the experiences, challenges and complexities of families with an autistic child when going on holiday.
The project was a collaborative one, undertaken by Festivals, Events and Wellbeing Research, a research consortium that consists of multidisciplinary researchers from the University of Hertfordshire and Swansea University who are interested in exploring the impacts of contemporary leisure, and the Family Fund, which is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.
This report summarises the key findings from an online survey and begins by highlighting the types of holidays families with an autistic child tend to go on. It then outlines the main challenges and complexities these families face when planning and being on holiday, as well as how these impact upon the kind of memories they create. Recommendations for families as well as tour operators, accommodation providers, visitor attractions and other stakeholders are provided at the end.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


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