80,000 children and no where to go
The 2010 Census reports that 1 in 20 school age children living at home has a disability. Applying a CDC estimate, more than 80,000 children in Brooklyn have disabilities ranging from speech impairments to cerebral palsy, autism, and deafness. These children need places to go outside of the home where they can relax and have fun, but public playgrounds and parks can be stressful and dangerous for many of these children.
Disability affects the entire family
The Arc’s groundbreaking 2011 survey of families caring for children and adults with developmental disabilities documents the toll taken on caretakers. 88% of caregivers report physical fatigue, 81% report emotional stress; 46% felt that they had more responsibilities than they could handle.
A 2009 study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found the levels of stress hormones of mothers of teenagers with autism comparable to the stress levels of combat soldiers.
The stress is compounded by a relative lack of money. The time and energy that it takes to care for a child with disabilities is such that one parent, usually the mother, either stops working outside of the home or works significantly less hours. A recent Pediatrics study finds that mothers of children with autism earn 56% less than mothers of children with no health issues and 35% less than mothers of children with other health limitations.
Extreme Kids & Crew wants to create a place for the entire family: a space where parents can meet in a beautiful setting; where children with disabilities and their siblings can play without being stared at; where a sense of community and belonging can help combat the stress and isolation that all members of the family can feel.