James Madison University

The Need for Care

Respite for the caregivers of special needs children is an unmet need in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, and elsewhere in Virginia.

12.8% of children under the age of 18 have special health needs according to a survey by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau with the National Center for Health Statistics, 2000.

6.9% of Virginia’s children between the ages of 5 and 20 are living with one or more disabilities, which may include:

  •  autism
  • deaf-blindness
  • emotional disturbance
  • mental retardation
  • specific learning disability
  •  visual impairment including blindness
  • deafness
  • developmental delay
  • hearing impairment
  • orthopedic impairment
  • speech and/or language impairment
  • traumatic brain injury

– according to U.S. Census 2004

The demands of caring for a child with special needs can be overwhelming for families.

Families of children with special care needs have difficulty getting even a short break from the demands of caregiving.