The survey measured the impact of the child’s special need through two questions:
- How often does the child’s condition affect his or her ability to do the things other children of the same age do?
- To what degree does the condition affect the child’s ability to do those things?
The responses to these questions were combined to produce an indicator that reflects both the frequency and the intensity of the effects of the child’s condition on his or her activities.
Based on parents’ reports, 38 percent of CSHCN are never affected in their ability to do things other children do. This may be attributable to the nature of their health condition or to the treatment they receive to manage their conditions. Another 39 percent are moderately affected some of the time. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) are affected usually, always, or a great deal by their conditions.
The percentage of children who are affected by their conditions usually, always, or a great deal is more than twice as high among children in low-income families as among those in families in the highest income group. Overall, 35 percent of children in poverty are affected usually, always, or a great deal, compared to 16 percent of children in families with incomes of 400 percent of poverty or more.
The impact of children’s conditions also varies across racial/ethnic groups. Non-Hispanic White children are the most likely to report never being affected by their conditions, and the least likely to be affected usually, always or a great deal. Despite the fact that Hispanic children are less likely to be identified as having special health care needs than non-Hispanic White or non-Hispanic Black children, those Hispanic children who do have special health care needs are more likely to be reported to be affected usually, always, or a great deal by their conditions.