Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 679–683 | Cite as

Impact of Child Disability on the Family

  • Nancy E. ReichmanEmail author
  • Hope Corman
  • Kelly Noonan


Families with disabled children represent a sizeable share of all American households. Living with a disabled child can have profound effects on the entire family, which in turn can affect the health and well-being of the child who is disabled. Much needs to be learned about how children’s health affects their parents, siblings, and other family members and about how family characteristics and resources modify those associations. Numerous programs and organizations provide resources for disabled children and their families, but the system is extremely fragmented and difficult to navigate. This commentary reviews what is known about the effects of child disability on the family, provides an overview of the complex needs of and multitude of resources available to families of disabled children, and concludes with suggested directions for practice, research, and public policy.


Child disability Family 



The authors wish to thank the following individuals for helpful conversations: Diane Casale-Giannola, Chrystina Dolyniuk, Michele Kamens, Gail Morris, and Hugh Rockoff.


Drs. Reichman, Corman and Noonan received salary support from Grant #R01HD45630 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsRobert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsRider University and National Bureau of Economic ResearchLawrencevilleUSA

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