Identifying Your Child's Needs

It is easier to get an insurance company to pay for a service if you can show clearly that your child needs the service. Professionals who have examined and cared for your child can help you. Request a detailed written diagnosis from the doctor, including your child's strengths, abilities, functional limitations, special needs, and short-term or long-term expectations. Review the words the doctor used to describe your child's condition. Do these words accurately describe your child? If you are unsure, contact the doctor and ask for an explanation. Being able to describe and discuss your child's disability is a skill you will use frequently to help others understand what your child needs.

Your child's diagnosis and needs may change over time as your child's recovery progresses. The way a diagnosis is worded can affect your child's eligibility for some services. You may need to review the written diagnosis every now and then with your child's doctor to make sure your child's current needs are identified. It may be helpful to think ahead to what your child will need in the future. What kind of care, equipment, and services does my child need right now? What do I expect my child to need next year or five years from now?

The cost of treatment, medication, or equipment can affect your decisions about your child's care. If a medical test or treatment is not covered by your insurance, ask the hospital case manager to suggest other ways to pay for it. Ask if the needed service or equipment is educationally necessary, in which case the school district may pay for the service under its special education program. The Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire can also direct you to local and state resources that may provide financial assistance.

Ask for literature about therapies, services, and equipment. Even if you don't have time to read it all now, you may want it later.

Other parents who have had similar experiences may offer helpful tips and advice on paying the bills. Agencies such as the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, Parent to Parent, or Parent Information Center can refer you to other parents. These agencies frequently have local branches or offices, so it is likely that they will be familiar with the resources in your community.

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) at http://www.pacer.org

Parent Training and Information Centers

612-827-2966

Institute for Child Health Policy http://www.ichp.edu

888-433-1851

Family Voices at http://www.familyvoices.org

888-835-5669

New Hampshire Family Voices

800-852-3345

New Hampshire Parent Information Center

800-232-0986

Parent to Parent

800-698-LINK

Brain Injury Association of America, Inc. at http://www.biausa.org

800-643-4444

Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire at http://www.bianh.org

800-773-8400

For additional information about these and other family support services, visit the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire website at http://www.bianh.org/resource/familysupport.htm.