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

Please note this website is no longer updated, a link to our new website is given below.

A parent run organisation that supports families caring for a child/children or young person/s with a disability or special educational need. We provide services for families living in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

Where, when, who?

Based in East Dorset, our address is

The Families Centre, Bond Avenue, West Moors, FERNDOWN BH22 0LL

Telephone 01202 855105        


Office opening hours are Monday - Thursday 9.30am - 2.30pm term time only.

Coping with CHAOS is part of Diverse Abilities Plus Ltd.

Registered Charity No. 282197. Company No. 1540805



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 the permanent staff are parents of children with disabilities or have experience of working with disabilities. Coping with CHAOS became part of Diverse Abilities Plus on 1st April 2011. 

Diverse Abilities Plus (formerly Dorset Scope)  was established by a group of parents of children with cerebral palsy in the 1950s.  It is now a significant charity offering lifetime partnerships to individuals with the whole range of disabilities and their families, empowering them and offering the best level of assistance, support and education across Dorset.  The values and services which Coping with CHAOS and Diverse Abilities Plus provide are complementary.  The support and infrastructure of a larger organisation will help assure the continuation and development of the services we offer at CHAOS.

What we do...

Play Opportunities
For disabled children aged 0 -18 and their siblings. Held every weekday of the school holidays. We run a variety of staffed play sessions at different locations including play/leisure centres, local attractions, special schools and at our own premises, offering short breaks for the whole family.

Awesome Nights Youth Group
Weekly activites for young people with a disability or special educational need, supported by their able peers - from 13 to 19 years.

Parent Support/ Information & Signposting
Monthly coffee morning are held during term time with access to useful information, toy and book library. We can also signpost to other organisations. Please see our LINKS page.

Various events are held throughout the year to help raise the funds we need to provide our services.

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