24 Jun Creating the Perfect Support Group
Being a parent is stressful, we all know this, but when you are a parent of a child with special needs, the stress level multiplies. About the time we feel like we’ve found a solution or answer, our expectations, the situation, or our son, Avery, changes and we have to start over. The hardest stress our family has faced so far is Avery’s new diet. Avery has always been a picky eater, but when he was diagnosed with several allergies, we were forced to remove some of his favorite items from his diet. The stress on our family was indescribable. It didn’t take long to realize we needed support to continue on the journey of support for Avery. It was only when we asked and accepted help, did we feel like we were making progress.
While many of our support groups were common sense choices, there were some that were not. But with all of the groups working together to help us on our journey, we feel better equipped to face any struggle that may come our way.
Therapists – Avery’s speech and occupational therapists have been great. Their knowledge and experience were valuable resources. If they ever didn’t know an answer or suggestion right away, they would always research and follow through until we found something that worked.
Doctors – Like his therapist, doctors have a lot of knowledge and, especially in the case of specialists, knowledge that can be helpful in navigating whatever issue you may have. The only disadvantage is that they typically don’t see you on a regular basis like therapists do.
Teachers and Other School Members – In Avery’s case, his preschool teacher, director, and his lunch lady. Since our current issue is his limited diet, support from all three were necessary. We lucked out with all three being very supportive and encouraging. Unfortunately, I have heard that for some people this is not the case. Though often overlooked, school employees see your child five days a week and need to be included and kept up to date, with any developments.
Support Groups – For us, it was the local chapter of The Autism Society. Online groups can also be helpful. The best thing about support groups is that it connects you with other parents who have gone through similar things. The type of support and advice you get from these types of groups are like no other. When we were struggling to potty train Avery, it was the suggestions and support from other parents who had struggled, that ultimately gave us the best advice.
Books and Magazines – Our doctor and therapists recommended several books over the years. For me, I am a huge reader, even if it meant at midnight, it was never an issue to read a long book. Some people, like my husband, are not the reading type, so small articles and magazines might be more their speed. Either way, there are great articles and information in the published word. The downside is that information tends to be generalized.
Friends and Family – Support from those closest to you is extremely important to you and your child’s emotional well being. Even if they can offer no advice, the undying support is the greatest gift.
Through the Storm: Part 6: Creating the Perfect Support Group
A Very Splunky Mom – “Anonymous Mother”