It’s getting harder for parents to raise children with special needs.

That’s one of the conclusions of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing that 1 in 88 kids will develop autism today, the highest rate in history. Meanwhile, new statistics show that kids with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome are living longer. For example: People with Down Syndrome are now living into their 50's, which is almost twice as long as they lived a generation ago! While that’s great news for kids, experts say there are many long-term repercussions for parents that are rarely talked about.

  • For example: A study shows that the divorce rate among parents of special needs kids is 80-percent! One mother we read about says that stat makes sense to her, because the strain of raising a son with autism completely took over her life, and left no time for her relationship.

  • Another danger: The stress of constant caregiving is intense. In fact, one study shows that mothers of special-needs children have stress levels similar to those found in combat soldiers, with post-traumatic stress disorder. And as we say all the time, high stress levels weaken your immune system, and raise your risk for heart disease, depression, and even cancer.

  • Of course, there’s also the huge cost of raising special needs children. And unlike “normal” kids, who tend to become more self-reliant as they get older, special-needs kids often demand more money and attention as they get older! Especially once they’re old enough to leave high school.

That’s all the bad news. The good news is that a growing number of advocacy groups are popping up to help families dealing with special needs kids. For example, if you’re a parent raising a child with autism, we recommend checking out this Website: AutismSpeaks.org.