Children receive overnight respite care in one of three houses within the community (Dublin 9 area) which have been designed to replicate a ‘home from home’ environment. All three houses are bright, modern, spacious and welcoming.

We try to keep these days the same for each child but sometimes this might change to ensure all children can be accommodated appropriately. Children will go to their specific school as usual when staying in respite with us. Where a child does not attend St Paul's Special School, the child's parent must provide transport to/from school and respite.

Respite at St. Paul's

At St Paul’s we provide a wide range of activities for children to enjoy while they are in respite with us. Children can enjoy arts and crafts, can take part in cooking and meal prepping activities, listen to music or dance to favourite songs, do hair & beauty activities, enjoy messy play, sand play or water play. Children can read books, play games, play in the garden, or watch a DVD. Children can also take some quiet time alone in their bedroom or sensory room (St Paul's Dromawling) to relax or play with favourite toys or entertainment items they may have brought in with them like an iPad. We also bring the children on outings when possible. Popular destinations include local playgrounds, the library, community sports clubs, the cinema, bowling, shopping centres, community gyms and local history and culture attractions.

When children are in respite with us, they eat their meals in the house they are staying in or they occasionally go out to eat somewhere as a treat. Information regarding a child's food preferences including specific allergies or special dietary requirements is kept in the PCP. Healthy food options are offered in all our houses. Our staff assist children to communicate their choices about foods they like with words, pictures or a voice output system if they use one.

When staying in respite, parents/ guardians can phone to check on how their child is getting on. Children staying in respite can also contact their parents/guardians and the staff can help the children to use the phone. Parents/guardians can also choose to use communication diaries. The diary can be given to staff when a child is coming to stay with us and our staff will write in the diary about the child’s respite stay and will then send the diary home after the respite stay for parents to read. Parents/Guardians can also write notes in this diary for staff attention.

Children will go to school as usual when staying in respite with us. Children who attend St Paul’s Special School will be dropped to and collected from the school by our respite staff. Staff may walk with the children or take public or St Paul’s service transport to get to and from the school. Children who do not attend St Paul’s Special School will need to have transport arrangements to and from school/home/ respite made for them by their parents or legal guardians.

If a child is prescribed medication, St Paul’s will need a copy of all medication documents to ensure clarity on what medications the child requires during their respite stay. Staff are trained in the safe administration of medication. Each child has a medication file in place which contains all the required information that staff need to know to fully support the child medically.  Our staff are experienced in supporting children with medical conditions such as epilepsy. We have a medication policy in place and we will explain this to parents/legal guardians on a child’s admission to the service.

Parents/ legal guardians may give pocket money to a child (or to staff to keep safe for the child) to spend when in respite. Children have their own wallets containing only their money which is kept safe. Staff keep records of pocket money.

Some children with autism can display behaviour that can be difficult to manage for their parents/guardians and others in the children’s lives who support them. Our staff are experienced and equipped to support the children in this way. Our staff receive training and take advice from parents/guardians/family regarding how to best help a child when they need it. The multi-disciplinary team works with respite staff to support the child through behavioural difficulties he or she may experience. Risk assessments, management plans, and ‘Positive Behaviour Support Plans’ are all developed and implemented where required by our staff.

Respite at St Paul’s means we provide overnight specialised care for a child in order to provide their family with a break. A child will receive respite in one of three respite houses- St Paul's Coolatree, St Paul's Dromawling, or St Paul's Santry, When children attend respite in St Paul’s, we provide them with respite that is designed to replicate a comfortable ‘home from home’ environment. As all children are different and have very different care needs, each child is allocated an amount of respite which is determined by St Paul’s Service. We try to keep respite days the same for each child (for example, every Monday) however; sometimes this will need to change to ensure all children can be accommodated appropriately and safely.

We try to ensure children attend respite with others that are a suitable peer group. There are times when peer groups may have to change so that all children can be fully supported and have the best respite experience. This may involve children having to move to a different respite day or night or a different St Paul's respite house. We aim to give parents/legal guardians as much notice as possible if changes like this need to be made and we discuss this with parents/legal guardians.