We are a family of four with one of our daughters, Katie (aged 14), having been diagnosed as high-functioning autistic (which used to be referred to as Aspergers). She loves trips away from home, outdoor activities and being sociable. She can struggle when being around people she does not know, mealtimes can be a challenge for her, and she needs a quiet space to which she can retreat when needed.
As a family, we have long enjoyed hostel visits, but after an unsuccessful stay a few years ago when our daughter became quite distressed, we have found that staying in a youth hostel under its normal conditions has become inaccessible to us as a family.
YHA Exclusive Hire gives us the opportunity as a family to get away and enjoy a hostelling experience. Our daughter knows exactly who will be staying at the hostel, and that they will know her and be adaptable to her needs. It provides her with a much-needed degree of social interaction which is especially valuable as she has struggled to maintain school attendance, and being around people she knows well provides reassurance when heading out to undertake activities. It is wonderful that there is a route through which we can continue our hostelling as a family.
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Written by Pete Nellist