Why is this film needed?

Many caregivers are desperate, exhausted and isolated. The demands of daily life take a heavy toll on their mental and physical health.

These quotes from caregivers of people with special needs represent what many caregivers experience every day:

"I suppose the thing that bothers me the most is missing out on holidays, birthday parties, family gatherings, even simple daily things like grocery shopping is non existent. I feel like I’m in jail some days. The isolation and constant yelling/screaming is mind boggling and I’ve had to be put on antidepressants and anxiety medication just to take care of my child."

– Kelley, caregiver for her 15-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, autism, and celiac disease

Severe autism is unrelenting. It has affected every single aspect of our lives: our work, our relationships, our mental and physical health, our food, how we worship, how we vacation, how we maintain our marriage, how we parent, how we relate to others, how we shop. Every single thing.

– Allie, caregiver for her two sons with autism

"We may put on a façade and we may seem like things are okay, but after so many years of waiting for the other shoe to drop, because it always does, it takes a toll on my heart. The tears I cry when I’m all alone because I don’t want her to think she’s a burden, those are all too real!"

– Tommi, caregiver for her daughter with special needs

"I’m beyond exhausted. I drag myself through each day, in service to my son and the love I have for him. The relentlessness of the 24/7 submersion is tougher than anything my worn out brain can recall. It really is an endurance marathon I never trained for."

– Vicky, caregiver for her son with special needs

"I cannot rest, not even for a second...I'm exhausted to the point of falling asleep while sitting up. And I'm so tired of crying. And what will crying do anyway?"

– Anonymous caregiver

“There is 'neurodiverse' in all its splendor and there is debilitating, self injurious, family destroying, heartbreaking HELL that quite honestly should have an entirely different name. What we families are facing with our sweet kids is an uphill battle to be heard, supported and respected. I am talking about an internal war zone in my head, heart and in my home..."

Carolyn, caregiver

“The dichotomy of living and loving a child or family member with this condition is truly like living on another planet. It is completely unrelateable to those who have not experienced it..."

Carolyn, caregiver

There are millions of special needs caregivers in America. Their declining mental and physical health constitutes a public health crisis.

The following stats are specific to caregivers of children with special needs:

An estimated 16.8 million people are caring for children with special needs.

30% of special needs caregivers say caregiving has worsened their health.

43% of special needs caregivers report experiencing high stress.

26% of special needs caregivers report their health is fair or poor (compared to 13% of the general adult population).

When caregivers are not supported and don’t have adequate resources, the outcome can be tragic.

These are real excerpts from devastating stories that occurred because caregivers had reached a breaking point.

“An 87-year-old woman is accused of killing her disabled, adult grandson for fear that no one would care for him after she died.”

“An Ontario woman has been arrested on suspicion of killing her 4-month-old and 14-year-old daughters...The 14-year-old victim was described by police as a special-needs child...It appears the mother had been dealing with depression.”

“Syracuse mother’s trail of hardship ends with murder-suicide...Each step of her life – raising three special-needs kids, pursuing an advanced degree, a failed business venture here in Syracuse – has been a struggle… And she appeared to have undertaken the challenges alone.”

Statistics with no context are easy to ignore. 

A tragic story in the news might make us pause, but requires no action. 

Until we put names, faces and stories with the struggles of special needs caregivers, they will continue to go unseen.

We Need Your Help to Make this Documentary Happen

If you want to see this project come to life, we need your support. There are lots of ways you can help.