Caring for Children with Special Health Care Needs

What you will find in the pages of this section

Here we hope to provide parents and other family members with knowledge, guidance, tools, and support as they strive to care for and about their child with special health care needs, their other children, and their extended families. We hope that you will see your physician(s) and other health care providers as partners in this process, in the Medical Home model (see About Medical Home).
Adoption of Children with Special Needs
Information and support for families considering adopting a child with special health care needs.
Advocacy/Finding Your Voice
Many parents have little experience being advocates when they first find out that their child(ren) have special health care needs. This page helps parents learn about advocacy and advocating for their child, in partnership with their medical homes, service providers, schools, insurance providers, and government agencies.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Overview of CAM and the use of CAM to address special health care needs.
Finding Accessible Childcare
Brief introduction to finding and funding child care for children with special needs and their siblings, along with links to more information and local services.
Foster Care of Children with Special Needs
Information and resources for those considering serving as a foster parent for a child with special health care needs.
Groups and Therapies
Information about the kinds of therapies and groups that may be helpful for children with special needs and their siblings.
Handling Unawareness
Introduction to dealing with interactions with others that are born of ignorance and that may be hurtful to children and families.
Hospital Care
Articles about inpatient stays, using Child Life services, and transtions to home.
Managing and Coordinating Care
Special needs children often see many different health care providers. This section is designed to help parents become an active part of their child's Medical Home team. Effective communication, accurate record-keeping, and preparing for medical emergencies are some of the topics covered here. Future topics will include: Choosing a Doctor for your Child, and Managing Finances During Crises.
Other Resources
Most parents of children and youth with special needs search for web sites that explain medical conditions, offer support groups, or help them find more services. This page provides links to selected national and local organizations that can help parents of children and youth with special needs.
When you learn that your child has special needs or has developmental delays, you will likely hear many new terms and acronyms from your doctor, service providers, and insurance provider. This page gives definitions for common terms and provides links to selected medical dictionaries and glossaries to help you learn about other new terms.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: May 2008; last update/revision: March 2018
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Medical Home Team