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, 34.4 percent of CSHCN are never affected in their ability to do things other children do. This may be attributable to the nature of their conditions or to treatment that effectively manages their conditions. Another 38.5 percent are moderately affected some of the time, and 27.1 percent are consistently affected in their activities, often a great deal. The percentage of children who are consistently affected by their conditions is more than twice as high among children in low-income families as among those in families in the highest income group. Overall, 37.5 percent of children in poverty are consistently affected, often a great deal, compared to 18.4 percent of children with family incomes of 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level 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 consistently affected. 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, Hispanic CSHCN are more likely to be reported to be consistently affected, often a great deal, by their conditions.

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