Many times when you are a parent of a child with special needs like Learning disability, Developmental Delays, Cognitive Delays, or any other; you may have found it difficult to find support in your area and may have pondered upon where to go, whom to trust on, deciding which path to go out of dozens of options and so on.
Being a therapist, even I have happen to meet tons of parents who mention that their friends and families don’t understand their situation.
All my years of practice, I have seen parents being influenced by other similar parents raising a child with special need. And it is very true, that until and unless you are never in that situation, you can’t feel the struggles these special parents face. It is very easy to refer to a particular place or a person but the importance of an experience that is shared by people who sail in the same boat is worthwhile. We at our therapy centers hear a lot about word of mouth, and that is how all support groups function.
These groups can offer you with a wealth of information that has been gathered over years of experience of many parents who have faced similar struggles. Its about sharing joyful and sad moments at the same time and being able to feel them.
It is rightly said “it takes a village to raise a child” but it also takes one to raise a community. Nowadays parents have a tremendous opportunity to share and value the “shared experience” with others who are raising a child with special needs in form of various whats app groups, social media like Facebook, twitter, social & emotion groups and educational groups.
Personal experience, therapy shopping, many hit and trials of various services make parents an expert to decide what is the best and how & where their child can benefit heaps.
One of my Mentor, at My Whole Child, Centre of Special Needs, New Delhi – Jane Styer – Acevedo, PT, C/NDT, mentioned about Intentional Support System which she founds tremendously successful in USA. This includes getting those parents together whom a therapist feels can benefit with talking to each other. For example, scheduling sessions for kids at the same time where the parents can talk about their experiences, resources, what worked for their kids and what didn’t etc. while they are sitting in the waiting area.
Be it whatever kind of support system, be it just one individual sharing with another or a large group, the value and importance of this kind of a support is unexplainable that can help someone with the right type of help and information they have been looking for which we therapists at time face challenges as to what to say and what to share.