Individuals with special health care needs are defined as those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic developmental, behavioral, physical, or emotional condition and also require health and other related services of a type or amount which is beyond that required by others generally. The definition is inclusive and broad giving emphasis on the characteristics held in common by the population with a wide range of diagnoses. The National Survey of the Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN) shows a consistent source for both the State and National level data on the characteristics and size of the population of CSHCN, that is, the detailed information on the demographic characteristics of these children, the kind of health and support services they together with their families need, their access to and their satisfaction with care services they get.
CSHCN are very diverse as it represents all ethnic and racial groups, family income levels and even ages. The population that meets the definition also represent a wide range of levels of functional abilities, from the group of individuals who are rarely affected by their conditions to those individuals who are significantly affected. However, what they share in common is the consequences of their conditions, for instance, special educational services, reliance on medications, therapies, or assistive devices or equipment (Brunner & Smeltzer, 2010). In addition, other common characteristics of CSHCN is their need for accessing wide range of medical and support services to enable them maintain their physical health, emotional and mental health and development.
Special health care needs entails any mental, development, physical, sensory, cognitive, behavioral, or emotional impairment or limiting condition which require health care intervention, medical management, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be trauma, acquired through disease, developmental, congenital or environmental cause which may impose limitations in performing every day’s self-maintenance activities or considerable limitations in a major life activity. Provision of health care for the population with special needs wants specialized knowledge attained through additional training, as well as raised awareness, adaptation, attention and accommodative measures above the normal routine (Corbett, 2006).
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