Breathless: Mothers of Children with Special Needs

In June 2011, nearly 20 mothers in northern New Jersey gathered to begin an advocacy and education effort that they hope will raise the national consciousness of what it is like to be a caregiver to a child with special needs. The mothers created an accordion glass book that they hope, through exhibition, will draw the attention of policymakers, agency and program administrators, community leaders, and others.

In addition to the creation of the glass book, an issue brief was also created to highlight some of the struggles such as depression (2-3 times higher) and anxiety; illness and fatigue; isolation (family, friends, school, dating relationships, faith community, etc.); violence and uncontrollable behavior; job and career struggles and financial strain (from costs of specialists and impact on the job).

The mothers participating in this effort connected through a program called Mom2Mom, a peer support initiative of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.