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Respite Services

June 26th, 2012

Our guest blogger this week is Denise Horsford, NYC Parent Coordinator and Special Needs Parent.

Have you ever thought that having a special needs child is difficult?    You know what, you are absolutely correct.  I have found a few things   that help me relax and it doesn’t cost very much.

There are small, inexpensive things that you can do to make your life a little easier, happier and healthier.

Start simple:

  • Ask for help
  • Be kind and patient with yourself
  • Take a hour walk in the park
  • Go to the beauty parlor
  • A hot bubble  bath
  • A  night out with the girls to the movies
  • A date night with your significant other
  • Manicure and a  pedicure
  • Facial or Massage
  • Parent support groups
  • Yoga or exercise class at the local YWCA

You will be surprised how great you can feel with implementing a few “me moments” into your life.  You can swap turns in going out with family members.  Agree to do a service or task for them if they will watch your child for an hour or two.

You must remember first and foremost, that if you do not take care of yourself, it is nearly impossible for to take care of anyone else.  Your child needs a healthy and happy parent to help support them.  There are many organizations that offer services to help you find after school and recreational programs for your child.  The service is “Medicaid Service Coordination” and there is no charge to you for their services.  They are paid directly through Medicaid.  Take advantage of the help that is available to you, there is no need to do it all alone.  You can find a listing of Medicaid Services Coordination organizations on the NYS OPWDD website.

Don’t be afraid to let go, your child will just fine with someone other than you for few hours.

Listed below are definitions of the services that are offered through Medicaid Service Coordination:

  • “Respite Services”

“Respite services provide temporary relief from the demands of care giving, which helps reduce overall family stress.  This often enables families to better meet the needs of their loved one with a developmental disability. Respite can be provided in the home or out of the home, during the day, evenings or overnight.  Respite is an “indirect” service that provides relief to individuals who are responsible for the primary care and support of an individual with a developmental disability. When a family member, Family Care provider, or live-in/house-parent staff person has to deal with such things as illness, emergency, and care giver or staff Vacation, respite services can ensure that the individual’s needs are met.”

Source:  NYS OPWDD

  • Parents of children with developmental disabilities are eligible to receive Medicaid Service Coordination “(MSC”) and (“Respite”).

“Medicaid Service Coordination” assists persons with developmental disabilities and their families in gaining access to services and supports appropriate to their needs. OPWDD delivers almost all service coordination through its Medicaid Service Coordination program.  MSC is provided by qualified service coordinators and uses a person-centered planning process in developing, implementing, and maintaining an Individualized Service Plan.”

Source:  NYS OPWDD

(If you would like to receive a list of Medicaid Service Coordination agencies, please contact the Parent Coordinator).

New York State Institute on Disability, (“NYSID”) offers the following services for families with developmental disabilities:

  • Family Emergency Reimbursement
  • Recreation/Family Outings
  • Bronx Non-Camp Vacations
  • Camp Reimbursement
  • Respite Vouchers
  • Car Service Vouchers

To receive an application or additional information, please contact NYSID directly at (212) 229-3273, (718) 494-6457 or email  The Parent Coordinator at your child’s school also has applications available.

For information about special needs planning, special education advocacy or guardianships, visit

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This article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. If you need legal advice concerning this or any other topic please contact our offices to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at 914-684-2100 or 212-490-2020.