Short Breaks provide children and young people with disabilities with an opportunity to spend time away from their parents, relaxing and having fun with their friends. They provide families with a ‘break’ from their caring responsibilities; they give parents a chance to unwind rest or spend time with other children. Examples of short breaks include holiday play schemes and short breaks with family to family carers.
It is important to note that whilst it is known that both local and national research demonstrates that short breaks are a priority for families with children with disabilities, they should be delivered as part of a much broader package of family support services in line with the SEND Reforms. This means that any staff who work with families will offer advice, guidance and information on other issues that are important to them.
Who are “Short Breaks” for?
Children and young people are eligible for short breaks when they have a profound and complex physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This may include for example, a physical or learning disability, a hearing or visual impairment, children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and children who may have challenging behaviour as a result of their learning disability. It also includes children who have complex needs and who may have palliative, life limiting or a life-threatening condition.
Short breaks, together with other support packages are tailored to prevent family break down through the provision of appropriate support at the right time. Not all children and families will need the same level of support or short breaks; some will need more than others because of the nature of their child’s disability and its severity. Some families may need more support because of their individual family circumstances. This is why there is a need to ensure services provide the right level of support with short breaks at the right time through the completion of a Specialist Assessment.