Specialist short breaks are where we assess your child to find out how we can provide specialised groups or activities to help them take part.

A specialist short break can range from a few hours a week to overnight stays. They can take place in the day, evening or at weekends at:

  • the child's home
  • the home of an approved short break carer
  • a residential or community setting

Who specialist short breaks are for

Specialist activities are for children who have been assessed and need them. Our Children Who Are Disabled social care team (or sometimes our Family Partnership Zones) carry out a needs assessment to work out if your child needs this service.

Get a specialist short break for your child

A child, young person, parent or carer or professional can make a referral to our Children's Advice and Duty service.

We'll pass the referral to the Children who are Disabled service if your child has a disability. We will also consider other children who have a number of problems or if they need more specialist intervention. This includes children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We assess all children who meet the eligibility criteria.

If the assessment identifies that the child requires specialist services to meet their needs we can provide:

  • information and advice
  • support in and out of the home
  • home adaptations and equipment
  • short breaks

You can arrange and pay for support from private or voluntary services yourself, or use your direct payments.

Examples of specialist short breaks

Some examples of specialist short breaks are where a trained worker:

  • takes your child out for the day
  • comes to your home to do activities with your child

Or you could get:

  • domiciliary care for your child in your home
  • overnight support for your child in your home
  • overnight stay for your child in a carer's home
  • overnight stay for your child at a residential provision

How much a specialist short break costs

Generally a specialist short break shouldn't cost you anything, as we (Dorset Council) subsidise many short break activities. If you do have to pay, you can use your direct payments. You can use your direct payments to buy your own help and support.

NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment

Find out more about what NHS continuing healthcare can offer and who they support.