Helpful Hands Respite Services
What is respite?

Respite can best be described as intermittent relief from the additional demands placed on a family raising a son or daughter with a disability. “Intermittent” means that the service is used to meet specific needs at specific times and it is time limited. For example, you might use respite if you want to go to church, do things with your other children, or just go out with your spouse or a friend, knowing that your disabled child is being cared for by a capable person.

Two kinds of in-home respite services:

1. The first kind of respite service includes routine care and supervision. It may also include light meal preparation and cleanup.

2. The second kind of respite service includes personal care in addition to the routine care and supervision. Personal care includes things such as help with bathing and dressing; feeding by mouth; help with getting around, changing
position, or transferring to and from a wheelchair; and general skin care (cleansing and applying lotion).

A respite worker may supervise your son or daughter in taking a dose of medicine that you have prepared ahead of time, if that medicine doesn’t have to be given 
by a nurse or doctor. The respite worker may not, however, give any other kind of medical assistance. 

"Parents of children with special needs assisting other families with special needs."
Vince and Susan DeCenzo

​Types of disabilities requiring our services:


Autism is a developmental disorder that usually becomes apparent before a child reaches the age of three. 

Characteristics of this disability include impairment in social interaction and communication, and usually include restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities.  Some people with autism also have an intellectual disability, while others have normal intelligence. People with autism can learn if they receive an appropriate structured education and environmental supports.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of conditions that affect the brain's ability to control muscle movement, coordination, and posture.  The term "cerebral" refers to the brain, and "palsy" refers to impaired control of body movement.  

The disorder is caused by failure of the brain to develop properly, or by injury to the brain (not to the muscles or nerves), before, during, or after birth. Sometimes cerebral palsy shows itself only as a slight awkwardness of speech or gait.  More often, there is a severe loss of muscle control in more than one area of the body.  

Some people with cerebral palsy can do only simple tasks related to self care and activities of daily living, while others achieve professional careers and lead independent lives. 

Although Cerebral palsy, or the injury to the brain, does not get worse, some abilities, such as motor control, may become more impaired as the person ages.   Although some people with cerebral palsy also have an intellectual disability, most have normal intelligence.

Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability, also known as mental retardation, affects peoples’ capacity to develop cognitive and adaptive skills.  The extent of disability that people can have ranges from mild, to moderate, severe, and profound.  People with mild intellectual disability are generally able to learn many skills, although they learn more slowly, and they are generally less aware of how to interact socially. With enough support, they can live on their own as adults and hold down a job.  About 90% of people with intellectual disability have a mild degree of impairment.  

People who have moderate intellectual disability are generally able to learn to care for themselves with special training and, as adults, can often develop some independence in their daily living skills, and work with supervision.  People who have severe or profound intellectual disability exhibit more serious deficits in speech, coordination, and ability to learn, and they frequently have physical handicaps.  Some of these people need constant care and supervision, but others can learn to perform useful tasks and many, as adults, can perform some types of work with supervision.


The term epilepsy applies to a number of disorders of the nervous system centered in the brain and is characterized by recurrent seizures.  

A seizure involves muscle convulsions, partial or total loss of consciousness, mental confusion, or disturbances of bodily functions such as spots before the eyes, ringing in the ears, and dizziness.  

The frequency of epileptic symptoms varies widely across individuals.  Some people with epilepsy have many seizures each day while some can control their condition with medication, diet or other environmental adaptations, and go for months or even years without a seizure.