Excerpt from: The Future of Children (click for full post)
A recent Child Trends Research Brief, "Children with Disabilities: State-Level Data from the American Community Survey,"
uses data to look at the diverse needs of children with disabilities.
Several critical findings and topics were also noted in the Future of Children's recent issue on Children with Disabilities.
Both the Child Trends research brief and the Future of Children note that there is little consensus in defining children with disabilities. "Researchers tend to focus on the individual causes of disability such as autism, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder" (Future of Children). Regardless of the definition, children with disabilities need more specialized care medically, environmentally, and educationally. Parents of these children "often need to advocate for their child across multiple domains, from managing the child's medical care, to ensuring an appropriate and individualized educational plan is in place, to meeting significant expenses that may arise due to the disability" (Child Trends).
As Child Trends notes, health insurance is vital for children with disabilities. The Child Trends brief cites Peter Szilagyi's Future of Children chapter, "Health Insurance and Children with Disabilities," which observes that the number of children with disabilities covered under private insurance declined by about 10 percent during from 2000 to 2008, while public insurance coverage increased. The two main public health insurance programs are Medicaid and SCHIP (known since 2009 as the Children's Health Insurance Program or CHIP). Nearly half of children with special health care needs who have insurance are covered by one of these two programs; 90 percent are enrolled in Medicaid, the other 10 percent in CHIP. These are among several programs that provide health services for children disabilities. As Child Trends points out, "children with disabilities who are insured get more timely and comprehensive care, and that their parents are more satisfied with their child's health care than are parents of children with disabilities who lack insurance."