During the coming weeks, we know that some schools and colleges are closing or partially closing, which will affect EHC assessments, EHCP reviews and provision in school during this time. All of our advice for schools and parents about Coronavirus and its impact on SEND is available here.
Devon Information Advice and Support (DiAS) also offer information about coronavirus, school, education and SEND.
Short breaks co-design
Unfortunately, due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), we need to pause our work to improve future short breaks. As we’re sure you’ll appreciate, these are challenging times, and our current priority must be to provide support and an urgent response to those affected by the virus.
We are extremely grateful for the feedback that you have given us, and we want to assure you that this will be acted upon. As soon as we’re able to we will continue this important work.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and continued involvement in codesigning short breaks and we will update this webpage as soon as we know when this work can continue.
If you have any questions, please get in touch using firstname.lastname@example.org
Disabled children and young people have the right to be supported at home and in their local communities, to have opportunities to make and meet friends, feel confident, and to thrive with a good family life.
Short breaks help do this by giving them the chance to experience activities and positive learning opportunities while giving parents and carers a break from their caring role.
We want to listen to children, young people, families and providers of services to:
- understand the support you get now and how well it is working
- work together with disabled children and young people, families and providers to think creatively about how to support families to have a good family life
We recently organised a series of workshops around the county as a way of finding out what people think of ‘Short Breaks’ for disabled children and young people in Devon. The workshops were designed and facilitated in partnership with Parent Carer Forum Devon (PCFD).
It was great to hear from everyone, and there were some brilliant ideas shared for us to consider. We’ve also met with parents and carers at their local meetings and coffee mornings. Thanks all of you – we really appreciate your time talking with us.
We’ve also now had a good level of response to our survey from parents, carers, young people and professionals, to help us understand what’s working well with ‘Short Breaks’ now, what’s not working so well, and what’s important for the future. The survey is now closed to new responses to give us an opportunity to understand how you have responded.
Looking at those responses, and feedback from the workshops and meetings, we can already see some common themes:
- Families want to spend quality time together. They would like to do things that are close to where they live, even if those activities are over the county border. They would also like us to be creative and flexible about the types of things they can do as a short break that will meet the wider family’s needs.
- Children and young people would like to do more activities like sports, music, being outdoors, and have more chances to make friends. Older children and young people would like to do things more appropriate to their age and interests.
- Some disabled children and young people need more support, and some activities that are available to everyone do not currently meet their needs. There should be more activities that children with complex needs can enjoy.
- Some parts of Devon are better served for things for children and young people to do than other parts. ‘Enabling’ services and holiday clubs, which are really appreciated by families, can be difficult to find and often have waiting lists.
- Families would like more choice of experienced providers who can offer opportunities and support for children and young people whose behaviours are a challenge.
- Families feel services can be too expensive.
- Parents would like more self-help information and advice to support their own children.
- It’s difficult for many families trying to juggle their lives – their relationships, interests, work etc – with their caring roles. Sometimes parents and carers feel isolated, even in their own communities.
- It’s sometimes difficult for siblings of disabled children and young people, whose parents perhaps spend less time with them. They might want to do ‘ordinary’ things like having a friend over for tea, but even that might be really hard for lots of reasons.
- Many families do not have any contingency or crisis plan to fall back on in case it is needed.
It’s given us food for thought, and it’s certainly helping us shape a service that will better meet the needs of children and young people, and their wider families in the future.
We’ll finish looking at all the feedback, including that from providers of short breaks.
So that you can see our progress, we’ll post ‘you said, we did’ information on these webpages. There will be some improvements we can make quickly, and some that will take a little longer.
Where we’ve had feedback on things that are important to families with disabled children and young people but that are outside of the Short Breaks, we’ll share that feedback with the relevant services and partners.
Based on what you’ve told us, we’ll make recommendations that will improve future ‘Short Breaks’. We’ll recommend the design of ‘Short Breaks’ for the future, and you will have the opportunity to check that we have got it right.
There’s still time to get involved. We want to make sure the service really works for children, young people and families in Devon so your views, comments and thoughts are really important in helping shape the future of the service together.
If you would like to be involved in co-designing short breaks, please get in touch via email@example.com
Find out more about Short breaks
The Disabled Children’s Service assesses need and help families to explore the type of support that will work best for them. Families can decide to take a direct payment to fund suitable support themselves. Part of this may be access to a short break, direct payment or personal budget. You can find out more about Short Breaks here.