||Individuals with special health care needs are those who have or are at increased risk for a disease, defect or medical condition that may hinder the achievement of normal physical growth and development and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by individuals generally. It is estimated that 18 million children in the United States have special health needs and an estimated 5.3 million Americans, a little more than 2% of the U.S. population, currently live with disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury.
||The federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau has defined children with special health care needs as those “who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition, and who require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.” These children may have developmental disabilities, such as autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or other incurable neuropathies. Or, they may have chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, HIV, or leukemia. They may have other health-related problems that can impair their ability to function, such as spina bifida, or muscular dystrophy.
|Fifteen per cent, or 1.9 million of U.S. children ages five and under have a chronic condition or disability. Among this population, the most prevalent unmet need is dental care. This is probably due to several factors. For instance, since a special needs child has a number of needs, such as physical, developmental, or emotional, oral or dental health may not be regarded as a priority. Many parents of children with special needs may lack the confidence in performing oral care for their child due to a lack of information of oral growth and development. They may not have the education necessary for the oral health of their own mouth.