We examined the specific health care needs of Hispanic children with special health care needs (CSHCN) from Spanish-language households, and we compared the needs for children in this group to those for Hispanic and non-Hispanic white CSHCN from English-language households.


We estimated the prevalence of parent-reported health care needs, health conditions, and functional characteristics by using data from the 2001 and 2005–2006 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs. We used bivariate and multivariate methods to describe the relationship between ethnicity, language, and the demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of CSHCN.


Between 2001 and 2005–2006, the prevalence of special health care needs increased significantly among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children from English-language households but not among Hispanic children from Spanish-language households. In 2005–2006, Hispanic children from Spanish-language households were only one-third as likely as other children to be identified as CSHCN. Relative to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white CSHCN from English-language households, Hispanic CSHCN from Spanish-language households had a higher prevalence of several developmentally related conditions and of functional difficulties related to gross and fine motor coordination, self-care, speech, and communication but had a lower prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Lower use of prescription medications was significantly associated with Hispanic ethnicity (regardless of household language) even after we controlled for demographic and socioeconomic differences.


Hispanic CSHCN from Spanish-language households are distinct from other CSHCN, and stratifying the Hispanic population by using primary household language can reveal important differences in the health and functioning characteristics of Hispanic CSHCN.

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