Seek out others like you and learn from them

support- scrabbleIf you’ve been a parent of a child with special needs for very long, you know how many things you run into that the ordinary parenting books, and ordinary parents, can’t answer for you.  The very best thing I ever did for myself as a parent of children with special needs is to hook up with other parents.  There are many ways to do so – your school may sponsor special ed parent meetings, local disability organizations may sponsor parent meetings.  Online you can find parent groups connected by email, and many parent support groups are on Facebook.

Join a group and listen.  Make a point to participate by answering questions and asking your own.  Share the good, the bad, and the ugly about your days.  You’ll learn a lot.  You’ll learn about resources for your kids. You’ll learn about treatments and techniques that others use.  You’ll learn about programs for your kids.  You’ll learn about ways others have found to deal with insurance, and doctors, and therapists, and bureaucracy.  You’ll learn what the future may hold for your child.

And most importantly of all, you’ll learn that you are not alone.  You’ll learn that there are people who understand your life and that you can talk to without judgement.

You may know I have two personal needs children of my own, and I belong to several parent groups.  And frankly, I have learned and still learn frequently from the clients sitting in my office as we drift away from discussing executors and trustees and start talking about our lives.  No matter where you live and how much you know, there is always more information out there, and parents are often the best source.

Some online parent groups you may want to check out:

North Shore – Seacoast Special Needs Parents

Pioneer Valley Special Needs Parents

Austin Special Needs Facebook Group

Parent Support – Veterans of the Fight

Adults with Cerebral Palsy Advising Parents of Kids with CP

Parents of Severely Disabled Kids

If you belong to a great parent group, please post it in the comments for others to check out.

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