For Young Ones

Supporting Children with Autism

At North Hayne Farm, we continue to work to create an Autism friendly environment and aim to make all our families feel very welcome.

Disruptions to normal routines can often result in more behavioural issues and we recognise that it can be stressful for many children (and their parents/carers) when they are away from their usual routine and familiar home environment. We would therefore encourage you to contact us prior to arrival to discuss any specific needs your child/children may have.

If your child has sensory difficulties such as sensitivity to loud noises, it may be necessary to come down to farm feeding sessions slightly earlier or slightly later so that noise factors can be reduced. It may also be helpful to enjoy the morning donkey ride at the end of the morning session when it is quieter at the barns.

Our twice daily animal feeding routine is purposely structured (farm staff will use signing to help with this if required).  This is to provide a constant framework for all our younger visitors, helping them to feel secure and more confident.  We do recognise however, that waiting in a queue for their bucket of ‘feed’, taking turns or sharing may be particularly challenging.  Please have a word with us if you think there is something extra we may be able to do which will help.

There are many factors that can help a child to reduce their anxiety levels and help your family have an enjoyable holiday:

  1. Meet the team; an overview of the team who you may meet during your stay. This includes a photo of each person to help familiarize your child with new faces prior to arrival.

    It is available to download prior to arrival if required.

  2. A map of the farm; Another downloadable document whichshows areas that can be busier, quiet spots to ‘escape to’ parking areas and general farm layout.

  3. Flash cards; these are packs of photo cards (taken around the farm) which can be used in a number of ways. They show many of our animals and facilities and were originally designed for children with non-verbal Autism, although are also used to develop communication skills amongst many of our children and/or as a useful pre-arrival tool. There are laminated sets that are available to borrow from reception on arrival or you are welcome to print off your own prior to arrival.

  4. Daily Schedule Pocket chart; this is a wall chart with plastic pockets and laminated cards, designed to help families plan their day together with their child. It is used to help create a new routine in a fun way and once again reducing stress. It is free to borrow from reception and is tailored to the farm and to North Devon making it even more relevant and hopefully helpful to use!

  5. In the play barn you will also find a trampette and low spinning chair with hood.

Please feel able to bring along your child’s own bedsheets, pillows and blankets as reassuring smells and the ‘feel’ of familiar things can help a lot. Heavier bankets or lighter weight duvets are also available and ornaments (although very few in each cottage !) and decorations such as mirrors, pictures etc can also be removed prior to arrival if required. Once again please just contact us to discuss.

We welcome any new suggestions of ways in which we can continue to help and look forward to seeing you at North Hayne Farm.

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