There are usually many activities taking place every week across Dorset. Some of these are open to all children and young people, some offer extra support for those who might need it and others are more specialist for those with more complex needs. 

Activities where you and your child have some time apart and your child is supported are often called short breaks (also known as respite).

Find short breaks for your child

Search for activities and short breaks for your child on our Family Information Directory.

Short breaks are activities that give children who are disabled the chance to:

  • have fun
  • try new things and new experiences
  • gain confidence and independence
  • benefit from a change of scene
  • make new friends

It also means that you as their parents or carers can:

  • have a break
  • spend time with your other children
  • spend time with family and friends

It's important to remember that having a break from caring for your child is not an admission of failure, or saying you don't care. Without an occasional break you risk becoming unwell or completely exhausted.

It's easier to keep going if you have time to do the things you can't do while looking after your child. It can make your life easier too if your child is used to spending time with someone else.

Find out more about the different types of short breaks in the video.

Information about short breaks from KIDS charity.

Looking after your child

There are lots of activity providers in Dorset who have teams of trained and experienced, caring staff who can look after your child. They can make sure your child has a great time and give you the chance to have a break.

Many providers can manage young people with a wide range of needs, including:

  • communication
  • mobility difficulties
  • learning difficulties
  • behaviour
  • sensory impairment
  • physical needs
  • complex health needs

Targeted and specialist short breaks

Read more about targeted and specialist short breaks.

Targeted short breaks

Targeted short breaks are for children or young people who need additional support.

Find out more about targeted short breaks in Dorset.

Specialist short breaks

Specialist short breaks are where we provide specialised groups or activities to help your child take part. This is usually as a result of someone referring your child for a specialist short break because of their disabilities.

Find out more about specialist short breaks in Dorset.