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Join a parents group for children with special needs and exchange babysitting services. Form a babysitting “co-op” with friends and neighbors and teach them about your child’s special needs. Investigate respite or temporary care facilities in your community.


HOW CAN OUR FAMILY TAKE A VACATION? Vacations are very important to the physical and emotional health of families, but it may be difficult to include your child who is chronically ill or disabled or to be comfortable about leaving that child home. Some considerations when planning a vacation are to: Take mini-vacations several times a year may be more helpful than one long vacation. Think of the things you will need to address if your child has a health problem. - Ask your pediatrician to recommend a specific physician near your vacation spot. - Bring a written statement, prepared by your physician, about your child’s condition or disability and current treatment, as well as other pertinent medical records.


- Contact the hospital and/or emergency room in the area where you will be vacationing in order to know where the facility is and how to use it.


- Make sure you know what your insurance coverage is and implications when traveling out of town, out of state, or out of the country.


If you need a “vacation from child care” and need to leave your child or children at home, perhaps you can: - Ask a relative or a member of your extended family to stay with your child/children;


- Inquire about respite care facilities in your community.


If your child is going to a special camp, plan your vacation to coincide with the camp session. Determine if social service or health agencies have trained personnel available to stay with your child. Ask a local chapter of a disability or other organization such as Candelighters, United Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy Association, or Juvenile Diabetes Foundation whether they have organized a group of parents to share respite care.


HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD DEAL WITH REACTIONS OF OTHER CHILDREN? Children can be very compassionate and caring toward children with special needs, but they can also be cruel. Frequently, natural curiosity, lack of understanding, or fear causes children to say or do things that seem unkind. Following are some things to keep in mind: A sense of humor can often help you and your child handle difficult situations. Explaining your child’s disability or helping your child to explain their special needs to his or her friends/classmates, their parents, and to teachers, usually


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