For those of us who are parents of children with or without disabilities, we know the joy that our children bring every single day. For those of us with children with disabilities, we are also, at times, strained by the weight of those disabilities and understand that opportunities for us to find time for ourselves are frequently limited due to the limited number of individuals who are willing to provide care. This has been an issue from the time our son Jacob was two years old and suffered from frequent seizure activity. Although the number of seizures has greatly decreased, his diagnosis as being intellectually disabled, non-verbal, and autistic continue to make the search for caregivers difficult.
This is where the services of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Respite program has been a blessing to us for the last several years. About once a month, we have the chance to leave Jacob and his little brother during a Respite Family Day Out in the capable hands of many wonderful volunteers and full-time support staff who are always willing to grant us a few precious hours to reconnect with each other over lunch, shopping, a movie, or even just a quiet walk together. We truly consider these individuals to be angels of love for Jacob. They are patient, warm, and provide wonderful supervision in a world where so many others are nervous and unwilling to undertake this task.
We constantly thank God for the many volunteers and staff of Easter Seals Greater Houston.
About Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Respite Services Program:
Easter Seals Greater Houston offers Respite Services to help provide relief options to parents who provide ongoing care of their family member who has a disability. Many people with disabilities require 24-hour, around-the-clock supervision, attention and care, and many parents of children and adults with disabilities have low incomes and thus cannot afford to hire extra help to provide time away from their children. This continuous demand becomes a tremendous drain on caregivers emotionally, physically and mentally, and this care will remain constant as they grow older. Consequently, families of children with disabilities are at high risk for divorce, substance abuse and child abuse because of the continuing stress of caring for the child with disabilities. Respite care is an assistance program to parents, but just as importantly, is a prevention program aimed at stopping some of the social problems that can result from the tremendous demands made on families due to the disabilities of their child or the institutionalization of the family member with a disability. Learn more.
Family Day Out (FDO), a center-based Respite service, provides respite care on Saturdays to families of children ages 6-14 with all types of disabilities. Each session is staffed by a nurse and a center director. The children benefit from arts and crafts, games, and playground activities and receive one-on-one assistance from volunteers. Siblings ages 6-10 can also attend, allowing parents a total day of rest. Applications for the 2012-2013 FDO season must be filled out in advance. If your child attended or volunteered at Camp Smiles or Camp Buckaroo in 2013 an application is not needed, but you must RSVP. Learn more.
Parents Night Out is a Friday night out-of-home Respite program currently held in two locations around the Houston area. Children, teens, and young adults with disabilities are welcome. Depending on age and activity level, one of the two locations can be recommended for appropriate care. Learn more.
Case Management includes education and information guided referrals, family support and advocacy. For more information, please contact us. Support Groups include Parent Plus, a parent/guardian networking group. Learn more.
CLASS provides home and community based services to people with disabilities or a related condition as a cost-effective alternative to placement in an intermediate care facility. The main benefit of CLASS is to help maintain independence and provide support for an impaired person living at home, in the community or in the institutional setting of their choice. Easter Seals Greater Houston is one of the organizations that provides case management services for the CLASS program in the greater Houston area. Learn more.