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Guide: Getting an assessment and accessing support from the Disabled Children's Service

Additional support (including short breaks)

In addition to universal services and early help, additional support is available for children and families that our Disabled Children’s Service has assessed as having eligible support needs.

Additional support (including short breaks) may be appropriate where your disabled child or young person:

  • requires intensive help and support to meet their needs – the majority of children with complex needs will already have been receiving support through the Single Assessment Framework and early help process.
  • has a clinical diagnosis with complex needs
  • requires night time supervision
  • has an autistic spectrum condition with severe learning disabilities or behaviour which is very challenging or behaviour associated with other impairments, for example, global development delay or health condition
  • displays behaviour that is challenging to manage and/or self-harm linked to a chronic and enduring disability
  • has complex health conditions which are likely to be life-limiting
  • has sensory impairments
  • requires the provision of targeted support in order for you, as parents/carers to meet the additional needs of your disabled child or young person

When we look at what support your child needs through the assessment, we also consider the needs of the rest of your family. For additional support (including short breaks) these needs might include: 

  • sibling needs: your disabled child’s needs are impacting on their siblings’ opportunities to some extent
  • parent/carer needs: your disabled child’s needs are impacting your wellbeing and personal life to some extent
  • parenting: you are able to meet your child’s needs but may benefit from specific and time-limited advice, information or support

If your assessment shows your child is eligible for additional support, your child’s social worker or community care worker will work with you to put together a support plan. They will discuss what you think would make the most difference to your child and family and how best to access that support.

This level of support can include short breaks, which give disabled children and young people an opportunity to enjoy different experiences, meet new people through social and leisure activities to help them form friendships, feel part of the community and build skills in preparation for adulthood while giving their families a break from their caring responsibilities. Find out more about short breaks.

Short breaks may be appropriate if your disabled child or young person:

  • needs help to regularly access services to support their health and development and/or alleviate stress in the family which may lead to needing targeted or specialist support
  • needs extra help to participate in community activities to aid their social and emotional development

In addition to short breaks, your child’s plan could also involve some signposting or referring to relevant support services for your family. This may include:

  • SEND support
  • Devon Early Years Complex Needs Service
  • childminding (including special needs childminders)
  • therapeutic physiotherapy
  • occupational therapy
  • speech and language input and associated aids
  • community nursing
  • voluntary sector provision as part of care package
  • early help
  • signposting to charity support
  • Parent Carer Forum Devon