Short breaks could include childcare, a Saturday or after school club, a residential holiday for you and your family, or a holiday scheme.
Depending on the type of short break you are looking for, these can offer a chance for the family to enjoy some fun time together, an opportunity for your child with SEND to learn new skills and activities in a different environment, or an opportunity for you to unwind or carry out some important tasks on your own for a short time.
Your SENDIAS team can give you more information about the short breaks available within your area, whether you might be eligible for a short break, whether you will need an assessment, and how to apply.
Specialist equipment and adaptations to the house can make a real difference to the life of your child and your whole family.
Ask your social worker or SENDIAS team for information on getting adaptations made to your home (eg grants from the council, charities). They can also give you some guidance on how to look for the specialist equipment or adaptations you need – for example, a bath aid or a ramp – whether you are able to get any help with gaining such equipment (eg through a grant, a loan service from a local hospital, or via the local social care service), and who will carry out any assessment.
If your child is young and still needs nappies, ask your health visitor or school nurse about getting them free.
Some charities offer therapies to parents and carers who have children with SEND, many at reduced rates. Your local area may also have Carers’ Cards that entitle you to reduced rates for treatments.
You may also be able to apply for:
- a RADAR key, which will help you gain access to disabled toilets around the country
- benefits relating to transportBlue Badge, enabling you to park in a disabled parking space
- a Disabled Parking Bay outside your house
- Road Tax exemption
- free bus passes.
Your SENDIAS advisor will be able to give information on eligibility criteria for such schemes. There are also a number of websites available about disabled access, such as Disabled Go.
Haircuts for children with SEND
Below is some advice for taking a child with SEND to the hairdresser:
- Go when it is quiet.
- Use a photo to tell the child that you are going.
- If possible do it at home.
- If clippers are used some children might wish to use ear defenders (introduce these in other contexts first).
- It’s better not to surprise the child (eg say I will cut three times and then stop).
- Reduce the amounts of haircuts to absolutely necessary; the experience is unpleasant/scary for some children.
- Use a toy that is really motivating for the child only when cutting hair (eg cut 1, 2, 3 then give the child the toy, then count down to remove the toy and repeat). On the last cut say 1, 2, 3, finish.
- If your child responds to deep pressure around the head, do it before the cut while the child is sitting on the chair or even on breaks.
- When you clean off the hair from the shoulders do it with your hands using a firm touch and not with a brush or the hair dryer unless you have observed that your child enjoys this.
- Use a mirror.