NYS CCHC Resources Website

Children with Special Health Care Needs

Children with Special Health Care Needs

One of the primary roles of a Health Care Consultant is to assist child care programs to establish policies that facilitate the attendance of children with special health care needs in an individualized manner that promotes their health and safety.

A child with a special health care need means a child who has a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition expected to last 12 months or more and who requires health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

Some conditions that meet the definition of a child with special health care needs are quite apparent. For example and child with Type 1 diabetes who requires blood glucose monitoring and insulin injections or a child with asthma who requires nebulizer treatments. But conditions such as sickle cell disease who requires monitoring for fever and follow-up action, may not be as clear especially to health care providers and parents. Also chronic conditions that are well controlled may not be mentioned on enrollment interviews or paperwork.

As both a child care and health care industry insider, be cautious of shortening the term ‘child with special health care needs’ to ‘special needs’. The term ‘special needs’ generally means something different, such as a severe cognitive impairment or physical disability. If care providers have a limited working definition for children with special health care needs, they might not request needed information and training to safely care for a child who has less pronounced, but no less critical, health needs. They might also unknowing discriminate against children with disabilities believing that they lack the needed experience and training.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Health Care Plan