Families which have a family member with a disability will often experience much worry and stress and may encounter problems getting the help and services they need for caring for their disabled family members, particularly at the times when help is most needed.
There are many organisations which support families of children who have some type of disability or special health care need. These groups help families to meet everyday challenges. Most strive to provide the necessary information, resources and support required to help these families make informed choices for their children. In doing so they try to ensure that families of these children have the knowledge and assistance needed to support their child’s health, education, and ongoing development. Services included might also include peer support for families, as well as offering information and education not only to the families, but also to health care professionals and the wider community. Many of the staff members, volunteers, and board members of these groups will often belong to families which include children with disabilities and they are therefore able to draw on their own experiences when helping others.
In other cases, organisations may offer financial and professional support. These organisations may stipulate that certain criteria be met before they will offer support. For example, they may require that the person’s disability:
- Is caused by an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairment (or a combination of these impairments)
- Culminates in a marked reduction of the person’s capacity in any the following areas: communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, or self care
- Results in the family needing support Is likely to be permanent
- Begins before a certain age.
These types of services might involve the appointment of a case officer who helps families or carers to identify their problems and needs. Case officers are usually knowledgeable about the type of help and services available and can help the family to identify available options and to make their own decisions in terms of what is needed. They can also organise help and services on behalf of families, carers and people with disabilities. The types of services offered can include:
- 1-Assistance at home with bathing, shopping, and meals
- 2-Support for recreational or social activities, school or day placement, and holidays
- 3-Respite at home or away from home
- 4-Supply of special equipment or aids Transport assistance
- 5-Financial reimbursement.