girl on slide

With more than 1 in every 100 people in the UK diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it’s a condition that affects a huge number of people – as well as their families.

So when a family looks to get a much needed break away, the hurdles to finding somewhere that’s suitable can often feel insurmountable.

So how do you go about finding a holiday cottage in the UK that is suitable for young people with autism? Holiday Cottage Compare shows you how.

boy with leaf

What is autism?

Autism – or autism spectrum disorder – is the name given to a lifelong range of conditions, including Asperger syndrome, that affect an individual’s social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.

In short, people with autism see, hear and feel the world differently to others. Many with the condition say they find the world overwhelming, which can cause them considerable anxiety.

How many people are affected by autism?

Estimates suggest that currently 700,000 people (more than 1 in every 100 people) in the UK has autism spectrum disorder.

Many more males than females are diagnosed with the condition, although it is thought to be under reported in women.

What are the symptoms of someone diagnosed with autism?

As a spectrum disorder, the symptoms of ASD can vary widely from person to person. But generally speaking, people with ASD tend to have more difficulty with social interaction and communication.

As babies, they may avoid eye contact and growing older, have difficulty understanding facial expressions, body language and gestures. They may play alone (often repeating the same pretend play) and experience delayed language development, which they don’t compensate for by using gestures or facial expressions.

For some children with ASD, routine is everything and small changes to it can trigger tantrums. Some may engage in repetitive actions such as opening and closing doors, or lining up toys etc. Many children with ASD also suffer from associated conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or depression.

Of course, people with ASD do not look like they have a disability – adults often speak of feeling misunderstood whilst parents of children with autism say that other people simply think their child is being naughty.

How can I find holiday cottage accommodation that is autism friendly?

Finding the perfect holiday cottage can be a challenge in itself but finding one that meets the needs of someone in your party with autism can often prove that little bit harder. And if you’re exhausted and very much in need of a break, then spending hours online looking for somewhere is often that last thing you want to do.

There are also many more considerations that need to be taken into account when booking a holiday cottage for someone with ADS than ‘where and when’ you would like to go.

Involving a teenager or adult with autism in the decision making process about what you book is important – but if it’s a younger child, that’s often easier said than done.

So we’ve compiled a helpful checklist, which, by using Holiday Cottage Compare’s easy search functionality, will hopefully make the whole process a lot easier for everyone.

boy with leaves

How can Holiday Cottage Compare help me find a cottage suitable for children or teenagers with autism?

Flexible search functionality and literally hundreds of different property features means that not only can you find your perfect cottage with us in seconds, you can also make your search as bespoke as possible.

Put simply, you can search for whatever matters to you most.

Flexible date search

For instance, we make it easy to search by date – which can really help if you want a cottage outside of the school holidays.

You can look for cottages with exact dates or you can be as flexible as you like and find, for example, everything between January and March next year. Or you might prefer to search without any dates at all. It’s entirely up to you.

Flexible location search

Similarly, if you know exactly where you want to go, you can search by town, city, area of interest, national park, region, county or country. Or any combination of the above!

You can also enter a town (your own location for example) and then narrow down your search to within say 1 hour’s drive – or 100 miles. Which might help reassure you that home is not far away should you need to come back for any reason.

Accommodating sensory sensitivity

Often, people with ASD need somewhere quiet, away from the hustle and bustle. Our property details pages usually describe what is in the immediate vicinity of any property you book but you can also narrow down your search by, for example, tags like ‘rural’ or ‘secluded’ to ensure you don’t find yourself in the middle of a busy and very noisy location.

camber sands beach

Filter your search by property type

The type of property you book might also matter to you – so we have made it possible to search for lots of different types, including detached houses, bungalows, log cabins, barns, farmhouses, towers, shepherd’s huts, windmills or even lighthouses. You name it, we’ve got it!

Large, easy to navigate photos

Planning in advance of a trip can help alleviate any concerns someone with ASD might have about a break away and photographs of a property – both its interior and exterior – can make this process even easier. All our properties come with large, easy to navigate pictures of all the main rooms plus the outside, where relevant.

Cottages with enclosed gardens

If you choose a property with outside space then you might want to check that it has an enclosed garden (as some children with ASD can otherwise abscond).

This won’t necessarily mean it’s impossible to escape from! But it should reassure you that it’s boundaried on all sides, making it much less likely that they can get out.

Simply add ‘enclosed garden’ to the features box and it will automatically narrow down your search for you.

kids climbing

Children’s play area holiday cottages

Children’s play areas can provide kids with ASD with hours of sensory entertainment so it’s a real bonus if your holiday cottage has one.

You can search Holiday Cottage Compare for properties with a children’s play area or you can narrow down your search by individual features such as a ‘swing’, a ‘trampoline’ or ‘slide’.

We also have hundreds of holiday cottages with games rooms – or alternatively, you can narrow down your search by specifically searching for cottages with a ‘pool table’ or ‘snooker table’ or ‘table tennis table’.

boy swimming

Holiday cottages with a swimming pool

Many children with ASD love water and so a swimming pool could be a great addition to your holiday cottage.

We have hundreds of properties with an indoor or outdoor swimming pool. Plus many listings will also let you know if there is a pool or leisure centre nearby.

Suffolk moat house hot tub

Holiday cottages with a hot tub

A hot tub holiday cottage can provide a great alternative to a cottage with a swimming pool – and it’s usually much cheaper too! Plus you have the added benefit of being able to use it year round, whatever the weather.

Not only will someone with ASD love it, the rest of the party are likely to jump in and relax too. Which can be particularly helpful for parents who want to wind down in the evening, once everyone is in bed but who can’t obviously otherwise leave the house.

Downstairs bedroom and bathroom

It might not matter to you where the bedrooms are in your cottage. But for some, being able to search for a holiday cottage with a downstairs bedroom and bathroom can be a great reassurance if someone in your party has additional mobility needs – or perhaps doesn’t settle well upstairs whilst the adults are downstairs in the evening.

Internet and Wi-Fi enabled holiday cottages

There can be very few people who holiday now and who don’t want access to Wi-Fi. But to make sure you have it, then check out our holiday cottages with Wi-Fi.

girl with dog

Pets welcome holiday cottages

Some people with ASD benefit for having a pet and of course, the last thing they will want is to have to leave them behind. So we have made it easy to search for holiday cottages where pets are also welcome – you can even search for cottages that take 1,2,3,4, or 5 dogs!

Holiday Cottage Compare logo

Searching made easy with Holiday Cottage Compare

We passionately believe that finding a holiday cottage to rent in the UK should be quick and easy, which is why we are constantly working to improve the experience for our users.

So if you are looking to stay in a holiday cottage for your next break away, we have a wonderful selection of over 12,000 holiday cottages throughout the UK.

Or if you would rather make a much needed cup of tea and let us do the hard work for you, just let us know what you are looking for in your next holiday cottage and we will gladly give you a hand.

Latest blog posts

Need a hand finding your perfect cottage?

Simply fill out this form and we’ll do the hard work for you.