Make a Wish Charities

Do you know a child with a serious medical condition or disability? Are looking for a Make a Wish charity to make their dreams come true? Well, You've come to the right place!

Make a Wish

A ‘wish making’ charity grants a wish to a seriously ill, disabled or life-limited child. This can include a huge range of conditions. The wishes are generally tailor-made to fit your child’s wildest dreams – anything is possible, from meeting a movie star to visiting Santa.

Wish Making Charities you should know about...

Wishes are varied and far reaching. For some a trip to Disney Florida or Paris to meet their favourite characters, for others it is a chance to get up close to a favourite pop star or sporting hero and some children simply want books and toys. Whatever the Wish, wherever possible, When You Wish Upon A Star will aim to make that Wish a reality.

dream flight

Dreamflight

Dreamflight is a UK charity that changes young lives through taking children with a serious illness or disability, without their parents, on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida.

Dreamflight is a ten day annual trip to the theme parks of Florida for 8-14 year old children with a serious illness and/or disability. We aim to take children whose situations make it unlikely for them ever to be able to go on such a trip without the full medical, nursing and physiotherapy care we provide. This is a unique opportunity for children to go away without family members, to meet new friends and build confidence and independence.

At Round Table Children’s Wish, we grant wishes for children and young people who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses. It gives the child something to look forward to when it is needed most and to create some special memories for all the family.

Promise Dreams help seriously or terminally ill children under 18 years and their families. It provides once in a lifetime dreams from holidays to meeting their favourite celebrity. Families are asked to consider fundraising as they may only be able to offer a donation towards the dream.

The Dreams Team

The Dreams Team grants the dreams and wishes of sick, terminally ill and disabled children.

Past dreams have included meeting Ant and Dec, a Christmas trip to Lapland, the provision of specialist car seating and computer equipment.

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that rebuilds confidence after cancer, using sailing to support, empower and inspire young people between the ages of 8-24 in embracing their future with optimism.

We work with every young person’s principal treatment centre, and a growing number of designated units, in the UK.

Young people come to us either through our contact within each of these hospitals or units, usually a nurse or CLIC Sargent social worker, who recommend which young people they think would be benefit most from a Trust trip, or as self-referrals.

Dreams come true

Dreams come True provides children and young adults (2-21 years) with severe and life threatening illnesses the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Each dream is unique but past dreams have included swimming with the dolphins, a seaside holiday, a TV and a music centre.

Browse loads more Wish Making Charities here

Use our directory to find even more places to make dreams come true.

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Grants fot IT

Find holiday insurance for pre existing conditions & autism.

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Summer Camps & Activities

Find lots of great adventures to have over the holidays.

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Free & Low Cost Holidays

Find adventures for your whole family.

Looking for something else?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Disabled Holidays in the UK

Are you looking for your perfect family holiday in the UK? Do you have a child with special needs, a disability or autism? Well panic no more because Sky Badger has found you the very best Disabled Holidays UK!

disabled holidays uk

Fab UK Holidays for Families with Disabled Children

At Sky Badger, we know that it’s important that your whole family has a great stress-free time on holiday. That’s why we’ve been working tirelessly to gathering some of the very best accessible holidays in the UK for families like ours.

This is where you’ll find everything from autism friendly holidays, disabled holiday cottages with wet rooms, wheelchair friendly holidays in the UK and lots more. We’ve also got links here to find holiday grants and other useful stuff that can really help.

HOLIDAYS landing page

You'll find tonnes of adventures in the UK right here but if you want to go further afield, click the button below.

This is where you will find...

  • Autism friendly holidays

  • Disabled holiday cottages

  • Wheelchair friendly holidays in the UK

  • Free holidays for disabled children

  • Insurance for pre existing contitions

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 Sky Badger's Top Picks of Disabled and Autism Friendly Holidays in the UK

Some of these holidays are totally free, some are low cost and some are just brilliant fun so we wanted you to know about everything that is out there for your family whatever your budget.

Cwmiar Farm

CWMAIR FARM HOLIDAY COTTAGES

Traditional self-catering cottages on a working farm in Wales – welcomes children & families with learning disabilities. Feed the ducks, chicken, sheep and lambs. Everyone is welcome to join in!

East Soar Outdoor Experience

East Soar Outdoor Experience 

Get one of the best outdoor experiences ever. In this camping resort by the coast you can go of adventures and do whatever. With the whole thing being disabled friendly, it’s the best thing you could do!

East Soar Outdoor Experience is situated on a National Trust farm in one of the the most breathtaking parts of South Devon. On the headland, just above the picturesque town of Salcombe the location is perfectly suited to provide children and young people with an outdoor experience that will stay with them forever. As we are situated on a National Trust farm we also work very closely with our local Rangers to ensure schools and families have access to our beautiful surroundings.

Currently we are able to offer children with SEN a 50% discounted rate.

The Mersea Island Festival has been an annual event each August at Essex Outdoors Mersea. The Festival aims to bring together young people with or without a physical or learning disability. The camps are ideal for Inclusive clubs, Phab and Gateway clubs, Youth Groups and families with disabled young people. They provide an opportunity to try out new activities, make new friends and have loads of fun!!!

The Oliver Curd Trust

The Oliver Curd Trust provides holiday accommodation to families affected by childhood cancer and other life threatening and life-limiting conditions, including those experiencing bereavement. If you or anyone you know could benefit please contact us!

Barretstown offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and their families living with a serious illness – supported behind the scenes by 24 hour on site medical and nursing care.

At Barretstown we will look after the physical and emotional well-being of an ill child by creating a carefree and safe, medically supported environment where they can make new friends, share experiences – and continue their treatment if they need to.

Homelands Trust – Fife

Wheelchair accessible luxury self-catering holiday lodges and disability accessible lodges nestled in mature woodlands.

The Homelands Trust offers award-winning, self-catering short breaks and holidays for disabled people. Four luxurious, accessible lodges in the pretty seaside village of Lundin Links, Fife, Scotland. All specialist equipment available free of charge. Direct Payments/ Self Directed Support budgets/ Charity grant funding can be used.

Wall Eden

Wall Eden Farm -Accessible Somerset Farm Holidays

Enjoy the best of Somerset in a luxury log cabin, glamping pod or yurt on our farm, close to the beaches at Burnham on Sea, but in the heart of the countryside.

Click this link to find our about their wheelchair accessible log cabins!

Haven

Trewan Sands offer FREE holidays through Haven Holidays at 35 sites throughout the UK. They also offer a Narrow Boat Holiday on the Lancaster Canal as well as a block of 10 two bedroom holiday apartments in the South Shore area of Blackpool.

Referrals from LAs, special needs schools and other charities throughout the UK.

Accessible travel agencies...

HOLIDAYS landing page

Our friendly, experienced team fully understands your requirements if you have a disability, use a wheelchair or travel with carers.

By combining extensive knowledge and empathy with your personal needs, we’ll make your accessible-holiday dreams come true.   If we haven’t visited a location, we won’t recommend it!

DisabledHolidays.com

HOLIDAYS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES AND LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

At DisabledHolidays.com we have years of experience arranging accessible holidays for disabled children and children with special needs. Booking a disabled children’s holiday with us means you’ll be dealing with the experts – caring, knowledgeable and dedicated to finding a holiday that is right for you. We also help arrange holiday grants.

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Insurance

Find holiday insurance for pre existing conditions & autism.

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Make a Wish

Find lots of make a Wish Charities to make your child's dreams come true.

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Holiday Grants

Find lots of charities giving holiday grants for you and your family.

Browse loads more holidays here

Use our directory to find lots of other adventures for your whole family.

Looking for something else?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Direct payments

direct payments

If you or someone you care for get help from social services, then you can apply for direct payments. These extra payments let you choose and buy the services you need yourself, instead of getting them from your council.

So, if you use a trained babysitter or 'respite carer' to babysit or do days out with your SEN or disabled child then you might be able to get a special budget to pay for it. This budget is called a direct payment.

The Assessment

You can only get direct payments if you’ve been assessed by your social services department. The assessments are usually done at home. A disability social worker will go through your day to day activities and put together a care plan detailing what you need.

Sometimes, you can find the assessment criteria for your local social services department online. It might be a good idea to 'Google it' and have a look through the document in advance to see if you might be eligible.

During the assessment, take notes of what is being said as well as the assessors contact details and name. You could always send your notes via email after the meeting and thank them for their time. That way, everybody feels like they're working together as a team.

Who are Direct Payments for?

You might be able to get Direct payments if you are a...

  • disabled person aged 16 or over (with short or long-term needs)
  • a disabled parent for children’s services
  • carers aged 16 or over including people with parental responsibility for a disabled child.
  • elderly people who need community care services

How do I Apply for Direct Payments?

To receive direct payments, you first need to contact your local council or trust to ask them to assess your care needs. How much you get depends on your financial circumstances, and you might need to top it up with money of your own. APPLY HERE for Direct Payments.

How do direct payments work?

Direct payments go straight into your bank, post office, building society or other savings account. The council have to agree in advance what you spend your personal budget on. This can be changes as your circumstances and needs change.

You might to be able to use direct payments for...

  • short breaks
  • help to go to a youth club or other activity
  • personal care

Remember that this is all about a partnership between you and the professionals involved to make the right decisions for you as a family.

 

Direct Payments are not automatic!

Call your social services department or disability social worker to talk through you options.

Sky Badger knows that finding help is tricky, so please look through Sky Badger's website to find even more support for your whole family.

The Good News...

Direct Payments can bring you more independence and choice in how you manage care.

  • you will take control of your own care and support services.
  • you will have more choice in selecting the services and support tailored to your needs.
  • If you're confident with money and paperwork this is definitely for you, if not, you can still get support.
  • If you're great at keeping receipts and invoices and love getting  reports and paperwork to your direct payment team on time.

The Not So Good News...

This might not be for you is...

  • you don't like the idea of being an employer – that's what direct payments require you to be.
  • you’re not goos at keeping records and receipts.
  • if you or the person you're caring for you spends frequent or long periods of time in hospital.
  • if you’re happy letting your local authority provide you with care services you need.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Lost in Transition – part 11

The Man Who Came to Dinner

I've just got back from our first family holiday with my boys and my newly (in)significant other ‘Bob’. I wasn’t going to share this because I thought it might be a little close to home but seeing as divorce rates for parents of disabled children is through the roof I thought it might be handy to share.

All a bit of a scary idea really, proper time with my two boys in a confined space without wifi. Suicide in retrospect.

It should also have been apocalyptic weather but the Norfolk gods smiled kindly on us and we had a blissful time. A good thing too because all of them absolutely refused to play Pictionary with me (can't think why!). It’s not as if I went to St. Martins School of Art and worked as an artist for 15 years…. actually it is just like that.

But in short we had three days on the beach making sand sculptures, massive sand castles filled with lego figures and flags and Louis on his skimming board darting along the water's edge. We ended each day by toasting marshmallows while telling ghost stories and finally went seal watching at sunset. The kind of English holiday that memories are made of.

The boys were both seriously needy though...

It was as if they had to be 10cm from me at all  times. They even kept tripping me up walking in front of me. I get it, really. First holiday after the divorce with somebody else in tow. It's all a bit challenging changing the dynamic. After all they've had enough change for a lifetime. But Bob as usual was incredibly kind and patient. He's been here before of course with his two.

He hung back when they wanted me to themselves and answered all of their crazy technical, scientific and historical questions. I may just like Bob a bit more after seeing him with my two. Bob spent every waking minute making sure my boys were the most important people on the planet. He's a charming, kind man.

And now for the introspective bit...

Autism is a different way of seeing the world. It’s another language and Bob doesn’t speak it at all. For me it is weird to realise, but Bob has never met anyone with special needs before. He said something that I’m finding hard to shake,

“I don’t know what Max is thinking”.

Those few words circle like a washing machine. I see dads walk away from their ASD kids all the time. Max isn’t even his.  His own father didn’t stick around so why would anyone stick around if they find stuff tricky and they don’t have any reason to stick around? I’m trying to keep this in proportion. Bob gets on brilliantly with both of my boys. He spent this holiday flying kites, explaining how crystals form and holding my hand when he was sure the boys weren’t watching. He’s a good man. But it’s like throwing an enormous dinner party. Everyone praising the food, crying with the joy of their fully entertained taste buds, naming their first born after the dessert and then a small voice at the end of the table says…”but the starter was a bit salty.” So what do you remember of the evening?…yup, too much salt.

 

If you’re in the same place, you might want to check out these useful links…

 

The National Autistic Society- http://www.autism.org.uk

Epilepsy Action - https://www.epilepsy.org.uk

Respite and Babysitting

Respite, Babysitting, Direct Payments & Personal Budgets

respite care for children with special needs

Everyone needs a break. Finding the right babysitter can really improve the quality of your and your child’s life. Your child needs a break from you, too. Whatever your child’s needs, there is always someone out there with the skills to help.

Depending on your child’s needs, you might be able to pay for babysitting through direct payments.

Personal Budgets

The new SEN and Disability reform bill says that your Local Authority needs to prepare a personal budget with your child's care and health plan. Your child's personal budget gives you a lot more choice about the services your child uses to support them. This might include direct payments that you can use to pay your specialist babysitter or respite care provider.

 

How to find a babysitter

Your local authority disabilities team might have a list of carers that they use. Alternatively, if you receive direct payments, your contact there might have a list of preferred agencies. If you want to find one on your own, here are a few places to look.

Your school or special needs school. There may be staff (teacher/teaching assistant/nursing staff) who would like to help out.
Your local hospice. It will often have a specialised outreach team who do respite in-house as well as out and about.
Remember to vet your babysitter carefully and look into their history as much as you can. Your local authority disabilities team will be able to advise you on how to find and vet a babysitter.

You might also find this advice from Directgov on finding and choosing childcare helpful.

 

Need a longer break?

Check out our holiday zone for ideas for short breaks where your child is fully medically supported – many of these are free or low-cost. Alternatively your local hospice may have weekends you can book in advance. Hospices offer support for a whole range of conditions, so check to see if your child might be included.

A lot of local charities also do days out with carers/chaperones. This might include your local Cerebral Palsy or Mencap group. Chat to your disability social worker, school Senco or special needs school to find local groups (Sky Badger will be expanding next year to include a local search facility, so keep checking back). Primary Times also lists local disability activities.

Personal Budgets

Direct payments can be used for a variety of services that offer your child stimulation, new experiences and independence. This includes short breaks, nursery placement with specialist support for your child, assistance to attend an activity, and personal care.

lovehearts_find-me

To get help paying for a specialist babysitter for your disabled or SEN child, you should contact your local Authority's disabilities team.

They will chat to you about doing an assessment. You can gets lots of help once you've signed up. Including help for your other children, short breaks and direct payments to cover your babysitter.

Find your local disabilities team using the Sky Badger local offer directory.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

istock_000021104923large

Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Sports for Disabled & Autistic Children

disabled sports, disabled clubs

On this page you'll find tonnes of exciting new sports for your special needs or disabled child to try.

From archery to water skiing, there is a huge range of sports that a disabled child can take part in. Whether they just want a bit of fun exercise, or have ambitions to be a future Paralympian, these links will help you find something exciting for them. We also have links to governing bodies in our directory – they should be able to put you in touch with a local club so you can try something new.

Disabled Sports and more

There are so many sports to try out whatever your child's interests or needs are. Don't forget to check out our other Sky Badger's guides to finding funding for sports kit and adventure holidays.

On this page, you'll find disabled sports clubs, funding for equipment and local clubs to get in touch with.

football

Find...

  • disabled sports clubs
  • wheelchair sports
  • blind sport
  • wheelchair basketball
  • adaptive skiing
  • disabled cycling
  • wheelchair rugby
  • disabled football
  • wheelchair tennis
  • disability netball
  • English federation of disability sport
  • Sailability
  • Accessible mountain biking
  • Riding for the disabled
  • Disabled flying
  • And much more!

Top 5 Sky Badger Sports to Try...

The RYA Sailability

The national body for all forms of disabled boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrowboats, and personal watercraft.

Flying!

Aerobility is a registered charity founded in 1993 offering disabled people, without exception, the opportunity to fly an aeroplane. For some, just that amazing first flight is enough to change their outlook on disability forever.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Authentic mountain bike experiences for disabled riders with a range of abilities.

Wheelchair Rugby

Find a club near you

Boom!

Horse Riding

Riding for the Disabled

Find lots more sports to try here!

Click here to see the Sky Badger Sports directory.

You should also check out the Sky Badger website to find holidays, clubs, grants and much more.

Local Sports Clubs

Click the button below to find your local offer. The Local Offer is a directory that your Local Authority has. It lists all the help and support that you might need to help your disabled or special needs child. You'll find all the disabled and special needs sports clubs listed there.

Local Offer

Click here to find clubs near you.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

istock_000021104923large

Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Theme parks for Families with Disabled and SEN children

Theme parks

Are you looking for a discount Alton Towers Tickets? Or want to know more about Merlin Pass Offers? If you have a child with special needs, there is a lot of help if you know where to look.

A family day at a theme park can be a brilliant but also a wildly stressful experience. There are lots of freebies and help at most theme parks that can make your family outing a fantastic day to remember. First of all, you can get free tickets for your whole family or concessions for you as a carer of a disabled child depending on their needs. You can also queue jump, get priority parking as well as autism awareness wristbands for your child.

Free Theme Park Tickets for The Whole Family

Have you applied to Merlin’s Magic Wand Charity yet?

You can apply for up to 5 tickets (for the child and immediate family members) to have a day out at one Merlin’s attraction. These include: Thorpe Park , Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers Resort, LEGOLAND Windsor, LEGOLAND Billund, LEGOLAND Deutschland, Heide Park Resort and Gardaland, London Eye, Madame Tussauds and more.

Eligibility: You can apply for a seriously ill, disabled or disadvantaged children (aged 2 - 18 incl). These applications must be made by EITHER parents/guardians of these children OR organisations which work with these children. Have a look at their website for more information. IMPORTANTLY It can take 13 weeks to receive your tickets. Merlin's Wand Charity
Merlin’s Magic Wand does not provide exit passes these can be arranged directly through attractions.

 

Free Adult Tickets

Most theme parks and attractions will give you a free carers ticket.

This gives you free admission when you or another adult accompanies your disabled child. Call in advance to check what each attraction offers. Some attractions even do a special price for your disabled child as well. Each theme park seems to have a different policy about carer’s tickets so contact the themepark directly giving yourself plenty of time to send off any documents they need before you go. And don't forget to ask about disabled parking!

Queue Jumping

Most theme parks are sensitive to visitors with additional needs and recognise that for some children, waiting in a long line just isn't going to be an option.
 Alton Towers, for example, has a fantastic policy for kids that can't do queues, including those on the autistic spectrum. They will fast-track the child and their family (a limited number of visitors of course).

Autism Friendly Theme Parks

Some theme parks have extra help in place if you have a child with a learning disability. Some parks give you stickers or coloured wristbands for your child so park staff can be at hand if you need them or if your child becomes separated from you. Contact the themepark directly to chat about any extra help you need.

Top 5 Tips on what to take AWAY

  • ID for your child’s condition varies, so we recommend you take copies of your DLA, CEA card, Carers card or anything else you can think of, just in case.
  • You may find you can’t go on certain rides because of your child’s mobility – check ahead of time. Being turned away at the gate can spoil a great day.
  • It’s a good idea to mark the disabled toilets on the map when you arrive.
  • Don’t forget to pack your blue badge, parking can be a lot easier that way.
  • You will be allowed to bring a guide dog but not on the rides!

Get Inspired

Check out other great days out, short breaks and adventures you can have.

Useful Links

Theme Parks UK

This is your independent guide to UK theme parks. All the information you need on the UK's most popular theme parks, including reviews of the best rides, opening times, ticket prices, how to get there, where to stay, events, top tips and lots more.

Gullivers Land

Gullivers has six different parks in three different locations. Check out each location for specific disabled-friendly information.

Thorpe Park

Disability Guide

Legoland

Disability Guide

Drayton Manor

Disability Guide

Oakwood Theme Park

Disability Guide

Can we help you with anything else?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

istock_000021104923large

Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Travelling with special needs

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With some kids, travelling can become a real family favourite pastime. Whether they’re obsessed with planes, Thomas the Tank Engine or going on the bus, travelling can often be just as much fun as getting there.

Sometimes medication, equipment, specific food/drink, behavioural or sensory problems can make travelling with a disabled child a bit tricky. Pretty much everything can be sorted out, though, if you plan ahead and talk it through with the right people. Here are a few questions to consider before you go:

  • What plans can you make in advance to help your child cope with change/noise or new sensations?
  • Do you have a plan if you need emergency medical help while you’re out?
  • Do you need pre-existing condition insurance?
  • What letters do you need from your doctor in order to travel? You may need separate verifications for their condition and equipment.

If you’re worried about behavioural problems, or your child is on the autistic spectrum, have a look at this brilliant site: Travelling on the autistic spectrum

Also, DisabledTravelers.com is a resource dedicated to accessible travel information.

Planes

Here are a few tips for travelling on a plane with your child:

  • Before you book, call the airline to discuss your child’s needs. This includes what plans need to be in place if there is an emergency, and any special equipment you need take on board (eg oxygen).
  • Get help at the airport from check-in or airport staff – you’ll probably be fast-tracked depending on your child’s needs.
  • Get written permission for your child to fly from your doctor or consultant, and keep a copy with you at all times. The letter should include permission to take your child’s medication and any equipment on the plane.
  • Bring a repeat prescription, just in case.
  • The loos on the plane are very tight – if this might be an issue for your child, talk him or her through it beforehand, and avoid giving them lots to drink just before take-off.
You’ll find lots more advice here:

Parenting.co.uk Top 10 tips for flying with young children and babies

Disabled-world.com Flying with children

Directgov Air travel if you are mobility impaired

Airport and airline services for disabled travellers

Spinal Injury Network Services for disabled passengers and additional seating fares for travel companions.

The Guides Network Regional and international airport guides for disabilities. They also do camping guides.

Trains

Travelling by train can be a great family adventure, so long as you plan ahead. Have a look at these links so you’ll know what to expect, and read our tips about reducing stress for you all.

Top Tips

  • Check accessibility along the whole journey and include any platform changes. If you need help, let all the stations know in advance.
  • Prepare your child with books and pictures about what to expect.
  • Pack toys, food and drink to use on the journey
  • Find out where the toilets are along the way, and their accessibility.
  • Have an emergency plan with contact numbers – remember your mobile might not work on the underground.
  • See if you can get a train driver or staff member to chat to your child. It can reduce stress for your child and might help avert a meltdown.
  • Avoid rush hour if at all possible.

Eurostar

If you prefer, you can stay in your car on Eurostar the whole way from boarding to when you drive off in France. Just display your Blue Badge and tell staff that this is what you want to do when you check in. Follow the overhead signs for disabled travellers and board at the front of the train. Seeing eye/disabled assistance dogs can travel on Eurostar.

For up-to-date information on special needs travel on Eurostar, check out these pages.

National Rail

Here are a few useful links for when you’re travelling on National Rail.

Basic information for travellers with additional needs

Regional train operating companies with map

For specific journeys you might need to contact individual train companies to check for accessibility to and from the platform. Here is the National Rail link with a handy map.

You can get up to 50% off an anytime ticket depending on your child’s disability and need for a ‘companion’. The criteria are quite specific, so have a look at this link.

Disabled Person's Railcard

Disabled kids aged 5–16 may be eligible for a Disabled Person's Railcard. They pay the normal child's fare, but one adult can travel at a discounted rate of one third off the fare. The medical criteria are quite broad and include epilepsy and mobility Disability Living Allowance. There is some extra information about the railcard on the Directgov site.

 

The Underground

London Underground

Not all stations on the London Underground are accessible to everyone. Have a look at the Transport for London map  – it shows step-free routes and there is also an audio guide.

For kids with sensory issues, the London Underground can get a bit full-on – very hot in the summer, noisy and crowded in rush hour. Occasionally trains will wait in tunnels and although the driver will keep you well informed, this might not stop your child getting distressed.

All London Underground trains have priority seating for disabled passengers and spaces for wheelchairs. However, you may not be able to count on getting these, especially during rush hour.

Most of the Underground has no mobile phone reception, but London Underground staff members will be able to get your child emergency medical help if needed.

The Glasgow Subway

Wheelchairs and large pushchairs are not allowed on the Glasgow Subway. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome, though. Be aware that access to almost all the stations involves steps.

Ticket offices have amplification equipment for customers with hearing problems.

Merseyrail

Merseyrail Trains are well designed for disabled access, with priority seating and with reserved spaces for standard-size wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Contact Customer Relations at least 1 hour in advance if you need help at a station.

As long as they have at least an hour's notice, staff can be on hand to assist at any station. To book, call 0800 0277 347 (free phone number), Monday to Friday. At other times, call 0151 702 2704.

 

Cars

Adapting your vehicle

If your car needs to be adapted to meet your child’s needs, there is support available, including the Motability Scheme. Check to see if you’re eligible.

Before you travel

For long car journeys, it’s best to be prepared in case of medical, emotional or behavioural problems. Being prepared is very empowering. It means you’ll have a lot less things to think about if anything goes wrong while you’re out, and it means you’re more able to cope with any emergencies.

  • Have an A4 sheet of all the information you might need in an emergency, including contact details for medical departments, and a list of your child’s medicines.
  • Have you checked out accessibility at motorway service stations along your route?
  • Is it worth programming the local A&E into your sat-nav to save time in an emergency?
  • Do you need somebody else with you to look after your other children in case of an emergency?
  • Did you pack the CD, DVD, iPad, cuddly toy that your child just can’t live without?

Travelling with an autistic child

If you’re worried about behavioural problems, or your child is on the autistic spectrum, have a look at this brilliant site: Travelling on the autistic spectrum

 

About parking

Hospital parking:

  • Hospitals and clinics often have special parking rules that allow you to park for longer and/or for free if your child has an appointment, is in A&E, or is an in-patient for treatment. You may not always be told about special parking privileges, so make sure you ask.
  • Call ahead if you can, especially if you have a city centre appointment. The hospital might have allocated parking for you. Finding an available space may take a while (at Great Ormond Street, for instance), so leave plenty of time before your appointment for this.

The Blue Badge Scheme

Having a Blue Badge allows you to park in disabled parking spaces, which are always closer to where you need to be. Most parts of the UK are covered in some way by the Blue Badge Scheme. You can apply for a Blue Badge from your Local Council or click here, fill out the form, and Directgov will pass it on for you. The Blue Badge moves with your disabled child, not you or your car.

  • Some cities have their own badge schemes, which make special parking provisions for their own disabled residents.
  • In Northern Ireland, a Blue Badge will give you access to some areas, but you will need a white badge for others. This single scheme applies across the whole of Northern Ireland.
  • Here is some brilliant clear advice about the Blue Badge scheme from Directgov

Taxis

In London and some other large cities, all licensed taxis (black cabs) are accessible to wheelchair users. They have a convenient fold down ramp. Contact the licensing officer at your local council to see if your area has wheelchair accessible taxis too.

Ring and Ride

If you don’t have your own car, try Ring and Ride. It provides a door-to-door minibus service with disabled access for all ages. You can use this service for short, local journeys, to go shopping, to school, college, or hospital appointments. Some also offer fun day-trips.

Registration is free, and then there is a small fee to pay per journey, although if you have a free travel pass from you local authority there is no charge for the service. Sometimes you can have a companion with you or other dependent children.

Ring and Ride is available all year, around 8am–11pm. Sunday service may vary. The kind of service you might have depends on where you live, so contact your local council to find out more.

 

For more information about travelling and parking, check out:

Blue Badge Network

disabled travel advice

Disability Living Allowance

There is a mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, which you can claim if you are the parent of a disabled child who needs additional assistance in getting around.

There are two different rates available:

The lower rate – for children aged five and above who need more help to get around than children of the same age who are not disabled.

The higher rate – for children who are three and above and who have a severe disability. If you are on the higher rate, you qualify for The Motability Scheme, which may be able to help you buy/lease a car. You may also be exempt from Road Tax.

Find out more about DLA here

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See our Holidays & Days Out section to get inspired with ideas for everything from short breaks to dream holidays.

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Look for specialist insurance providers and more info in our directory.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

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Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Getting Holiday Insurance

insurance

Autism, pre-existing Conditions and Special needs insurance

Most standard holiday company insurance policies will not cover pre-existing medical conditions, but there are specialist insurance companies that will do so. Before you get travel insurance you should get written permission from your doctor to travel. Always disclose any pre-existing medical conditions to your insurance company or you might invalidate your insurance.

The European Health Insurance gives basic reduced or free cover in Europe (replaces the E11) but you should get separate cover too.

Insurance for pre-existing conditions & SENs

Please check with your doctor before getting travel insurance. You might need written permission to make sure your insurance is valid - you won't be covered if you travel against your doctor’s orders.

Make sure you list ALL pre-existing medical conditions, you won't be covered if you don't and you'll invalidate any claim that you then make.

 From the 1st January 2006 you can use the EHIC to cover any necessary medical treatment because of accident or illness. If you are a UK resident, you are entitled to medical treatment that becomes necessary, at reduced cost or sometimes free, when visiting a European Union (EU) country. Only treatment provided under the state scheme is covered. However, to obtain treatment you will need to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. Please see the link below for full details.

For more information visit: EHIC or call 0845 605 0707

You can also compare pre-existing medical condition travel insurance at...

  • MoneySupermarket.com 
MoneySupermarket.com has teamed up with the top specialist travel insurance companies. Using their comparison tool you will be able to compare travel insurance companies that cover medical conditions as part of their policies.
  • Best Medial Cover
 They provide fast online deals and consider all pre existing medical conditions.
  • Travel Insurance GuideThis impartial guide compares all insurance providers in the UK in one place and advice on types of insurance (including policies for travellers with special needs)

The guide producers are working with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as part of their 'Know Before You Go' Campaign to provide travellers with credible information and help them be better prepared for overseas trips.


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office

 Travel publications The FCO have produced information about travelling disabled and much more.

lovehearts_take-a-break

See our Holidays & Days Out section to get inspired with ideas for everything from short breaks to dream holidays.

HOLIDAYS landing page

Look for specialist insurance providers and more info in our directory.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.