Abstract

Background: The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, collectively known as Batten disease, are rare pediatric neurodegenerative disorders resulting in blindness, progressive motor impairment, dementia, and premature death. This study identified services and support accessed by parents of children with Batten disease and assessed parental marital quality. Methods: Parents completed a survey to identify services their affected children received, and their own uses of social support, information, and online resources. We used the Dyadic Adjustment Scale to evaluate parental marital quality. Results: 29 parents of 23 Batten-affected children completed the survey. 18 children (78%) received receiving in-home nursing or paraprofessional care.  Over 90% of parents used the internet and social media to learn or talk about Batten disease; their preferred learning method was from other parents of children with Batten disease.  Batten parent marital quality was significantly lower than that reported in studies of the general population or parents of children with chronic, but non-neurodegenerative, disease. Conclusions: Parents expressed an interest in and preference for parent-to-parent communication for support and information about Batten disease. Further work is needed to understand factors associated with the significantly lower marital quality among Batten parents.