Category Archives: Tourettes book reviews

Family Tip of the Month in Samuel’s World – August

How to Survive a Family Holiday Abroad – Don’t forget the Tomato Ketchup!!

boy and bottle of ketchup

Off we go!!!

Having always gone on holidays for only 1 week this was our first break away for 2 weeks instead of 1 – Italy has always been our favourite place to visit and so we started searching on the Internet about a year ago for a suitable place to stay at.

Disasters in the past!!!

Before we knew about Samuel’s problems we had been on holidays abroad we had always stayed in an apartment or shared complex with other families. This proved to be a disaster with constant tantrums from Samuel either at the poolside or at the various restaurants leaving us all stressed and wanting to come home – now looking back I can see why Samuel was having tantrums over the Tomato Ketchup not tasting the same as English Ketchup or that the texture of the bread was not like the one he has at home from Sainsburys!

Choosing the right place to suit your family!

Not wanting to face another nightmare we decided that we needed to stay in a villa or a house which we did not have to share with any other family. We needed to be away from any neighbours and would need to have our own pool so that the children could shout as loud as they wanted and it did not matter what got chucked in the water! The place needed to be quiet and private with gardens for the children to charge around in with them having their own bedroom each giving Grace the privacy she needed and letting Samuel have a bedroom that he knew was his own so that he could arrange all his toys himself in a certain way without anyone intruding into his space!

What did we find??

We booked through a holiday company called “Vintage Holidays” based in England. They specialise in large county villas and so we choose Italy to be the country we visited, staying just outside of a town called Lucca near to Pisa. The villa had 25 acres of gardens with various fruit trees, a swimming pool, 3 bedrooms and above of we had privacy and space – for me to run off and chill out in if I needed to!! The only downside to all of this was the cost, would it be worth it??

What could possibly go wrong???

Nothing we hoped but that never happens does it?? We booked out flights through British Airways as I have been told they are very easy going with special needs children and their families. I pre-warned them before we left that Sam might get upset getting onto the plane and that he might shout the odd rude word. We checked in on-line which was easy and quick meaning that we did not have to get to the airport 2 hours before hand and were able to choose our own plane seats from the comfort of our own home! Smashing!!! Lester then just had to get the holiday insurance sorted and the currency changed up. It all seemd so simple and calm, was it too good to be true??

What to pack??

The week before we were due to go I had talked to Sam about the flight and had gone through various problems with him that he thought he might have on the plane. Sam produced a long list of what ifs in his head ranging from ear popping, crashing, eating/drinking on the plane,times, duration etc etc. After repeating every problem over and over again day after day he was finally settled in his own mind the night before – we gave him his own suitcase and a picture list of what he needed to pack in it which he spent all evening packing and unpacking but at least he felt grown-up and slightly more confident. Always remember to check their suitcase thought as once he had gone to bed I then opened it to find 1 pair of boxer shorts and the whole collection of his Dr Who creatures!!!!

The big day!!

This was when our problems began – we arrived at the airport to find that all the baggage conveyer belts had stopped working and so therefore all passengers were having to manually load their own luggage which as you can imagine this was taking ages involving lots of queues!. Not a great prospect with an autistic child……

After we had left our luggage in a loading area the departure computers told us that our plane was delayed – great I thought, we can all trot off to the toilet and have a snack – 30 mins later we are still trying to find a sandwich that Sam would like, I ended up getting strawberries from the Business Class Lounge at £4.80 per bowl!!

Gate Closing!!!

With Samuel still chomping on his strawberries the departures computer had skipped from plane delayed to gate closing – we had minutes to run like a maniac – Lester sprinting along ahead with me in tow dragging Sam and Grace to gate no 23 which seemed a long way away! We just made it with a minute to spare….

The plane journey

This went very well which I was pleased about – Sam kept his belt on the whole journey in case the plane crashed and declined the sandwiches which were brought around by the steward and from that moment on lived and breathed Sprite drink which was the only liquid he would consume – were we in for a rough ride ahead with all those sweetners and fizz?? Thankfully not – I strongly recommend this drink as an alternative as a short term measure!!

Time to find our baggage – where is it???

Yes you have guessed it – all still at Gatwick Airport!!!! It was not loaded onto the plane and so we were without luggage for nearly 48 hours. What else could go wrong????? Surely not…..

We had booked a hir care from the airport and were told when we arrived that the pick-up point was now down the road and you needed to queue up for a bus – this was very hard for Sam as I had not talked about this part of the journey but he did accept the situation fairly well holding on to his Sprite bottle!!

Getting to our Villa!!

Remembering to drive on the right hand side of the road with directions on lap Lester and I headed off and went straight onto the wrong motorway – once on you can never seem to get off …..nearly 1 hour later…..we finally get onto the right road only to break down!!!! The gear box on the hire car failed and we started to roll back down the hill!!!! With Italian car drivers all beeping their horns I got Grace and Sam out of the car to stand on the grass verge wishing “Good Luck” to poor Lester stuck in the middle of the road.

An angel arrived!!

For nearly 30 mins I stood there trying to calm 2 children in the heat until a kind man came to Lester’s rescue and the car was pushed to the side of the road. The man spoke some English and had children of his own and was was an angel from heaven! He took us into a local supermarket and using his own money rang the breakdown people explainiing in Italian what had happened – having rushed for the plane Lester had not exchanged our money to Euros and so we were penniless!!!

Negotiation time.

It took Lester nearly 2 hours to finally persuede the recovery man to take us to our villa – our options were a hotel for the night or to take a train!!!!!!!!!!!! None of those looked appealing with Grace and Sam in tow now starving hungrey, thirsty and tired…..

We arrived at our villa at 1am in the morning instead of the predicted time of 4pm the day before with Lester having to go to a cashpoint machine in the middle of the night so that the recovery chap could be paid for the journey!!!

The villa’s occupant!!

Not being able to see our surroundings in the middle of a mountain forest we stumbled into our home for the next 2 weeks only to find a scorpian greeting us on the door mat – thank goodness I spotted that before Sam did otherwise I don’t think anyone would have got any sleep that night!!!!

Our holiday

Well with all what had happened leading up to getting their we did all have a good time – the villa was smashing and had everything I had wanted – a gorgeous pool and gardens – privacy and above all peace!!! We had a resident deer who came to eat apples off the tree every morning and Sam spent most of the time trying to catch the many lizards who roamed the grounds! I managed to read 3 books which is a rarity and we did all chill out most of the time. Sam did have the odd disagreement but nothing major. We even managed to take a drive out to visit the lovely city of Pisa – for anyone going up the tower, purchase a ticket as soon as you arrive as there are time slots in place to avoid queues! Avoid going to the many beaches if you can as these are all private and you have to pay to sit on them – not cheap at £18 for 2 sun loungers and an umbrella!

The ups and downs and what to take with you.

I thought I had packed most items that we might have needed over the 2 weeks – the villa had a DVD player and so we had packed various films for us all to watch – Sam spent most of the days either watching Dr Who or watching – yes – Dr Who!!!!!

We were able to play with blow up balls and inflatables in the pool without someone blowing their whistle which usually happens if you are in a shared complex! I even remembered a pump to blow everything up with – a must if you don’t want to exhaust yourself too much!!!

Most of Sam’s suitcase contained all the items he has switched on when he goes to sleep – except for his Lava Lamp which he would have taken but with airport security hot on liquids at the mo I thought best not!!

A must to buy for any journey are those squidgy cusions you can now get which have tiny balls in them – they come in various shapes and sizes and are great to lay your head if you want to go to sleep.

Don’t forget chargers for phones, Gameboys and Nintendos!!!! Oh and spare batteries………….

This was our first holiday that I worried about Sam and his food quota for those 2 weeks – as he has got worse over the past year with his obsessions so has his food choice – most things have to be eaten with tomato ketchup. We tried over 10 different types of bread before we managed to find one that he did taste and like, the same proceedure repeated for the ham, cheese and cakes!! I even managed to find English Cocco Pops for him for breakfast but it seemed to make a difference just because we had bought the food from Italy.

So what did I forget to pack which would have solved a lot of headaches and would have helped Sam eat his dinners???


Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!

Samuels World Tourettes and other related disorders Book Review

Lynette’s Book Review

This is one article I have been trying to do for ages and I can only apologise for the delay but finally here it is!!!! Do bear with me as I list each book I have, I will keep adding to this article.

talking book

I will always remember the feeling of anxiety when I was standing in a book shop in Horsham looking at the endless book shelves filled with various children’s disorder/special needs books wondering what on earth I should buy!!

Being a mum when told your child has a problem you go out of your way to research and find a solution or answer and I found myself buying book after book so that I could understand my son more.

Having purchased and read a lot of books on Tourettes when Samuel was first diagnosed I have now got a good collection – some of them are excellent and are easy to read, others are more for the professional health sector and are not explanatory!!

Hopefully this review will guide you so that you can decide more easily on which book to buy for yourself and your family plus you can save some pennies and not do as I did and spend most of my first weekly Carers Allowance on books, books and more books!!!

If you want to buy one of these please click on the link which will take you directly to Amazon where you can order easily.

If you have bought a related book that you think is good or not then please email me with your review and I will post your comments!!

Happy Reading!!!

lynette xx

Why do you do that??

A book about Tourette Syndrome for children and young people by Uttom Chowdhury and Mary Robertson, published by Jessica Kingsley – ISBN No 1-84310-395-8. £9.50 new.

Tourettes Book - Why do you do that? Amazon

What’s it like??

This is an easy all rounder for everyone in the family to read especially for siblings and grandparents. I bought this for my daughter Grace because it has lots of children’s own personal views about how they feel about having Tourettes and by reading other people’s stories she could possibly understand her brother more about why he does and says different things. There is also a chapter dedicated to siblings.

From a parent’s point of view the book is laid out simply explaining briefly what Tourettes is and covers all types of questions that a parent would have when faced with a diagnosis.

This book would also be suitable for a TS sufferer, as young as 10 could read it. The various chapters cover school worries, exams and bullying.

Is it just a lot of medical jargon???

No, definately not, which is why I can strongly recommend this book – the book has no frightening aspects to it at all, none of those long medical words you tend to find in certain books! A pleasant surprise was to find some poems Professor Mary Robertson had written which did make me laugh making me feel more relaxed about Tourettes and Sam.

A very child friendly book written by a lady who understands!!

Marks out of 10 – has to be a 10

Articles coming soon to Samuel's World

coming soon

I hope you are finding Samuel’s World and its contents useful so far – please do contact me with any comments or ideas/suggestions that you think might be useful for the readers, it is still early days.

Due to a family crisis with getting our son moved to a special school this year I am finding keeping this website supplied with ongoing constant articles very time consuming – please accept my appologies – I hope to be able to dedicate more time to this support site once we have reached our goal!!

Don’t forget if you have a question but you can’t seem to find the answer, just email me to register to join our forum.

  • Understanding Tourettes – which book to buy for the whole family
  • What toys and gadgets help Samuel to relax and chill out – and where to buy them!
  • From a daddy’s own words – a personal account from daddy on how he felt regarding Sam’s diagnosis. – (This is proving difficult!!)
  • Statements – our story so far in this difficult battle. We are now at the Tribunal Stage with a possible court hearing late 07/early o8. We did achieve our Statement but alas it has not helped Sam move schools!!!!

lynette xx

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