There is a tremendous need within the community of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities for parents/caregivers to have a reliable and consistent break. A moment, a morning, an afternoon, knowing your child is in a safe environment can be life changing. There are not many options if any these parents can turn to, except to rely on their own small/capable circle.
According to a recent report from the US Health and Resources Services Administration, 14 to 19 percent of U.S. children have a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) an estimated 16.8 million unpaid caregivers provide care to a child with special needs under the age of 18 in the U.S. However, a survey conducted by the NAC stated that eighty-one percent of family caregivers of children with special health care needs do not use respite.
While the NAC survey did not ask why family caregivers did not use respite, such barriers have been well documented. They include cost, restrictive eligibility criteria, waiting list, limited or no respite options, accessibility, inadequate supply of trained providers or appropriate programs, lack of information, or feelings related to lack of trust of outside providers (National Respite Coalition (NRC), 2010).
This Respite program will provide the reliable, consistent and necessary time for self-care that is essential for parents/caregivers. And, the Respite program will provide new opportunities to the participants.
Intended Outcomes for Parents
- Relief from the constant stress of caring for a special needs child
- Time to care for marriages and friendships
- Opportunity to balance their own physical, emotional, relational and spiritual needs
- Opportunity to get away for a day or overnight to relax, recharge and rejuvenate
- Opportunity to meet other parents and develop friendships and support with people who understand their unique challenges
Intended Outcomes for Children
- Increased confidence
- Activity and exercise
- The opportunity to interact with other children, developing friendships and building relationships
- Positive role modeling by adults
Respite during the summer is extremely important as the break that parents receive during the school year is diminished with the end of the school year. Camp Orchard Hill provides an enhanced Respite Program to serve individuals with special needs as well as parents/caregivers. From June through August, parents can register their special needs child for 10 days of respite care over a 10-week period. This program provides individuals, ages 4 – 21+ the opportunity for two days of respite each week or any arrangement that combines up to 10 days. Parents/caregivers benefit from a reliable and consistent break. Individuals benefit from increased activity, new challenges, and the opportunity to participate in activities alongside their typically developing peers.
Throughout the remainder of the year, Camp Orchard Hill provides a monthly respite Saturday program staffed by Behavioral Health Technicians, aides, nurses and other professionals as needed. Special needs individuals, ages 4 – 21+ are well supported and appropriately supervised. Individuals benefit from increased independence, activity and exercise, the opportunity to interact and develop friendships, and the chance to engage with positive adult role models.
Additional opportunities for overnight respite are provided on four occasions to participants who choose this option.