In 2001, at the request of parents, the Leisure service was set up to organise the first holiday camp. It was a successful experience that has led to the organisation of many other holiday stays since that time.
To ensure that the participants with autism benefit to the full from their holiday experience while being properly cared for, they are accompanied by at least 2 educators from the Foundation and an equal number of accompanying persons as participants. Individual accompaniment is indeed necessary during holiday stays. These individuals are thus given the opportunity to become familiar with autism and with the various programmes that foster a better quality of life for persons with the disorder. We must underline the importance of voluntary work to the running of the Leisure service. Without volunteers, we would not be able to offer our one-to-one service of such high quality. In 2013, in acknowledgement of their exemplary commitment as volunteers, the accompanying people of the Leisure service received a prestigious prize, the « PRIX DU MÉRITE DU BÉNÉVOLAT » which was conferred on the Foundation by the Luxembourg Government.
Holidays are often held on the Belgian/Dutch coast, or in the Ardennes, and sometimes in the Vosges during Carnival, Easter, Whitsun, summer and All Saints holiday periods. Participants stay in houses run by understanding and competent staff. The children and adolescents benefit from the open air, the beach and from all the leisure activities.
There are also holiday stays in equestrian centres. Professional staff introduce the children to horseback-riding, there are walks in the forest and, in bad weather, indoor riding. The children also have to look after their horse : saddling, brushing, feeding. The equestrian centre specialises in hosting people with disabilities.
Day-time leisure activities are varied – swimming pool, walking, bowling, mini golf, outings, beach, crafts, etc. - and are adapted to the age and capabilities of participants. They are optional.
Holidays and colonies provide persons with autism with opportunities to make new friends, have fun and relax. They are also a time for their families to take a break in full knowledge that their children are being cared for in a respectful and appropriate way. Because of their disability, some people with autism find it hard to play like other people or to make friends. They need constant attention, which means that often they cannot take part in non-specialised holiday camps.