Respite is planned or emergency care provided to a child or adult with special needs in order to provide temporary relief to family caregivers who are caring for that child or adult. Respite care can be utilized on a regular or irregular basis and can be provided by family members, friends, skilled care providers or professionals. Providers, usually chosen by the family, care for children or adults with special needs while families take a class, go to a movie, go on a vacation, or enjoy any activity.

Caretakers of children or adults with special needs often face stress as a result of balancing the needs of their child with special needs with the needs of other family members. Respite care allows you time to tend to the needs of your other children, spouse, and yourself.