It’s often difficult for parents to ask for help. However, taking care of yourself often helps you have the patience and energy to care for your child with special health care needs . One of the questions we frequently get asked is how to find respite. Respite can allow you to get a short breath and/or spend time with the other children in your family. There are different options available to you depending upon where you live and your child's eligibility.
One of the most utilized programs for respite is the home and community
based services system. These are often called Medicaid waivers in
Indiana. Once you apply for the Family Supports waiver and are placed on
the waiting list, you can request caregiver support from the Bureau of
Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS). This is funding for a
limited amount of respite through an approved provider. You can not be
receiving other DDRS services, like First Steps, in order to receive
caregiver support. This site
has a contact list for BDDS, an FAQ, and online application. This
service is provided on a first come, first served basis until funding is
Once your child has been targeted for an Aged and Disabled, Traumatic
Brain Injury, or Family Supports waiver, you can access respite as a
waiver service once the waiver is active. Your case manager can help you
with a list of providers and more information about the service.
Typically, this type of respite can not be used during a parent’s work
or school hours.
If your child has Medicaid, and a need for skilled care, you might be
able to access periodic respite via a nursing facility. It will require a
doctor’s order and a screening process. There are also limits around
how often you can access it.
There are also other facilities that offer longer-term respite. Agape Respite and A Rosie Place are two such facilities.
In addition to these options, there is sometimes respite available from
local providers, such as Easter Seals and/or churches, especially those
with disability ministries. Some service organizations, like Sertoma,
will also offer periodic respite.
If you have the ability to pay out of pocket, Care.com
has providers who will list whether they have additional skills to care
for a child with special healthcare needs. Some families also hire
their own providers by advertising at schools, local colleges, or other
The Indiana Resource Center for Autism maintains this list of respite options for Indiana. You are also welcome to contact us for additional information and support: 317.944.8982 firstname.lastname@example.org
We all need to recharge our batteries now and then; and sometimes our
child, gasp, might need a break from US! If you can find a reputable,
skilled provider you and your child are comfortable with, everyone in
your family might benefit from respite.
We have numerous fact sheets available on our website. This series addresses family support:
Fact Sheet listing Indiana organizations that work to support families.
Parenting a Child with a Disability
Parenting a Child with a Disability - In Spanish
Tips and Resources for families raising a child with a disability or special health care need.
Respite Care Providers
A listing of providers in Indiana that provide respite care for families. Maintained by the Indiana Resource Center for Autism.
Article discussing important things to consider when preparing for an
emergency when you have children with special health care needs.
Traveling with children with special health care needs
Tips and resources for families of children and youth with special health care needs as they travel.
You can find recommended websites and other links as well at: http://www.fvindiana.org/information/family_support