CSHCN require a broad range of services, from primary and specialty medical care to prescription medications, medical equipment and therapies. In addition, the families of CSHCN may need additional support services, such as respite care, family counseling, or genetic counseling. Parents of CSHCN were asked if their children needed any of a range of medical services at any time in the past year.

The need most often cited for CSHCN is prescription medication: 86.0 percent of these children are reported to need prescription drugs. Just under half (47.5 percent) of CSHCN needed the care of medical specialists, such as cardiologists or pulmonologists. Other services needed by a smaller proportion of CSHCN include eyeglasses or vision care (needed by 35.3 percent of CSHCN), mental health care or counseling (27.6 percent), acute dental care, including orthodontia (26.7 percent), and physical, occupational, or speech therapy (26.6 percent).

Some services that are needed relatively infrequently among the population of CSHCN as a whole are more commonly required by children whose conditions have a greater impact on their daily lives. Of CSHCN whose conditions consistently affect their activities, one-third require care from specialists, more than half need physical, occupational, or speech therapy, and 42.8 percent need mental health services. These services are less often needed by children whose conditions have a lesser impact on their daily lives.

Other needs vary greatly by age. Preschool-aged children (from birth through age 5) are much more likely than older children to need home health care (7.7 percent, compared to 3.9 percent of school-aged children and 2.9 percent of adolescents), durable medical equipment (22.2 percent, compared to 9.8 and 7.1 percent), and specialty therapies (37.3 percent, compared to 29.8 and 18.0 percent). Conversely, adolescents (those aged 12-17 years) are more likely to need mental health services (34.7 percent, compared to 10.1 percent of preschoolers), eyeglasses or vision care (47.6 percent, compared to 13.2 percent), and non-preventive dental care, including orthodontia (38.5 percent, compared to 8.3 percent of the youngest children).

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