Coping with Chaos

Coping with CHAOS (Children's Helpers And Other Support) is part of Diverse Abilities Plus.  It supports families caring for a child/children or young person with a disability or special educational need, in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.  The majority of staff who co-ordinate the day to day running of the service are parents who have children who use the service. 

Coping with CHAOS was started in 1997 by two local East Dorset parents, Liz Morris and Anne Boyce, both of whom had children with very different disabilities. Although lots of organisations talked about inclusion and support, they found that in reality very little was available, which left them feeling frustrated and isolated. Based on their personal experiences, they identified the need for an organisation that provided support, not only for the disabled child, but for the siblings as well and ultimately the parents - the whole family. Recognising that the long summer holiday period was a particularly stressful time, they organised the first holiday 'Play Opportunity' sessions that year supporting 12 families.  Today over 300 families are registered and Coping with CHAOS is recognised as a major provider of short breaks for families with disabled children in the area.  All but one of  the permanent staff are parents of children with disabilities.


Activities can include arts & crafts, treasure hunts, games nights, skittles, play activities, swimming and much much more

The emphasis is on fun!

CHAOS is based at The Families Centre, Bond Avenue, West Moors, FERNDOWN BH22 0LL.

The office is staffed  Monday - Thursday 10am - 2pm term time only.  During school holidays, phone, post and email messages are picked up at least once a week.



It offers support and signposting, short breaks in school holidays, a Youth Club and a Parent Befriending Service for families with a child(ren) with learning, physical, sensory and developmental disabilities, including the autistic spectrum and ADHD.  One of its main aims is to support families to do ordinary things and have fun together.

Facilities/services include sensory room, parent support, free counselling service, toy/book library, sign posting, resource room and coffee mornings.

You can contact the CHAOS team on  01202 855105 or email

Click here to take you to the CHAOS website, which is updated frequently during term time, with information about all the events and opportunities and resources available currently. 

The time table of all the school holiday play opportunities available for the next holiday is put up about a month before the holiday starts.  If you want to request places on any of the holiday play opportunities you need to ring or email the CHAOS office and ask for a registration pack, which will be emailed or posted to you, so that you receive the six mailings per year.

Coping with CHAOS (Children's Helpers And Other Support)


Face2Face Befriending Service