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1.3.5 Eligibility Criteria for Accessing Short Breaks

This chapter was added to this manual in December 2013.


There are a large number of short break services that a disabled child can access without a referral or an assessment from the Children with Disabilities Team, these can be found in our Short Breaks Booklet for services that you can self-refer to. These services make up our core offer of entitlement for families. There are services available to any child who meets the definition of disability as defined within the Equality Act 2010. In the Act, a person has a disability if:

  • They have a physical or mental impairment;
  • The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.

For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:

  • 'Substantial' means more than minor or trivial;
  • 'Long-term' means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions);
  • 'Normal day-to-day activities' include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.

There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions. People with HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis are protected by the Act from the point of diagnosis. People with some visual impairments are automatically deemed to be disabled.

Some conditions are specifically excluded from being covered by the disability definition, such as a tendency to set fires or addictions to non-prescribed substances.

The short break services are tailored to meet the needs of children within different age groups and with different disabilities and so whilst it might not be possible or appropriate for your child to access all the services in the booklet, there should be schemes available that would meet you and your child’s needs.

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