Caring for a child with a disability can be overwhelming. Simple tasks of daily life, like going grocery shopping or cleaning the house, can become very difficult. Respite care is temporary care for persons with disabilities that is intended to provide assistance to a family to prevent burnout and family disintegration. Respite gives families an important pause from daily routines, essential for the mental, physical and spiritual maintenance of both the caregiver and their loved ones.
Since not all families have the same needs, respite should be geared toward individual family needs including parents, siblings and sometimes even grandparents.
Recreation and leisure activities are also a critical dimension of the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. These activities help children with disabilties meet new friends and develop skills and competencies. Traditionally, respite and recreation are given low priority as an area in which support and assistance are provided.
“A human being mints many coins from the same mold, and they are all identical. But the holy one, blessed by God, strikes us all from the mold of the first human and each one of us is unique.”
Below you will find a link to JAFCO respite care. Within the resource section of this website you find links to individual programs.
The Friendship Circle is a program that brings together teenage and adult volunteers in helping children, teens, and adults with special needs and their families. These individuals with special needs may suffer from loneliness in addition to their handicaps. They could have the best professional help (doctors, social workers, etc.) but they don’t necessarily have friends! They don’t attend regular social gatherings like most, and their classmates and peers cannot interact with them in the same way as most. They may be missing extra attention, love and friendship from friends and people in their community. In Miami we have two Friendship Circles, South Dade. Information about their extensive programming can be found here
Friendship Circle of Miami Beach and North Dade is another option. Information about their programming can be found here
The Jewish Community Centers offer after school activities. Please review the websites as programming changes:
Miami Beach Jewish Community Center
The Michael Ann Russel Jewish Community Center in Aventura
And the Alper Jewish Community Center in Kendall
JAFCO serves children from birth through age 22 diagnosed with a developmental disability, including autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida or Prader-Willi. They offer therapeutic services, child enrichment services, family support, respite care, support groups and parent training. They also offer Camp Kehilla, a special needs camp for children ages 3 – 22 with developmental disabilities.