Parents of physically and mentally disabled children as well as severely autistic children often find themselves as full-time caretakers. Despite all the love they have for their children, the work that goes into caring for special needs children can be exhausting. Respite care gives parents a break from their duties so they can refresh and remain effective, which has advantages for both parents and their kids.
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Parents of children with severe medical problems and disabilities often find caretaking is a full-time, around-the-clock job. They can become emotionally and physically tired. This can especially be the case for parents who work and those whose children frequently need help in the middle of the night. Parents need a break from their caretaking activities to rest and relax. Otherwise, stress and fatigue continue to build and make them unhappy and less effective as parents.
Having a child with special needs changes a family and affects the relationship between spouses and partners. Parents may find themselves less connected to each other and allow their relationship to take the back seat to the care of their disabled child. Respite care can allow parents the break they need to have time and energy to invest in their relationship, which in turn makes for happier parents and a better family.
When families have one disabled child and one or more non-disabled children, parents usually feel conflicted. Disabled children's needs can be intense and time consuming. Despite parents' desires and best intentions, siblings who are more functional get less attention and parental support. A major reason parents choose respite care is to make time for their other children and to be better parents.
Parents of disabled children frequently find themselves unable to go anywhere. Because it can be difficult to travel with a disabled child and especially a severely autistic child, parents become unable to take vacations, visit family and friends or pursue a love of travel. Regaining the ability to get away can help balance parents and make them happier people who have more to give to their disabled children after a break from caretaking.
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- Portland State University: Respite Care for Children With Serious Emotional Disorders and Their Families - A Way to Enrich Life
- Disabled World: Respite Care for Children with Disabilities and Terminal Illnesses
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Respite Care Services for Families Who Adopt Children With Special Needs