Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Coffee and support

One of the best parts about having a child with special needs is meeting others in the same position. You feel like members of an exclusive club (though admittedly it is probably not one that other people will be lining up to join.)

This morning I went to a support group coffee morning, which is consists mainly of parents of children with ADHD or autistic spectrum disorders. I was there partially in an official role to suppport new parents and partly for advice myself. It is wonderful to be able to chat openly about things that parents of 'normal' children just wouldn't get. The problems of having a child with challenging and destructive behaviour. The worry of a child who cannot survive in mainstream school. The stress and strains this can all put on family life. We share secrets and advice and what is said at the coffee morning remains between those four walls.

So to anyone who might discover that their child has special needs, however mild or severe, I would say seek out a support group. If there is nothing near you then join an online forum such as Special Kids in the UK and/or a group specific to your child's needs. At the end of the day we all face similar battles and concerns, about securing a decent education, health services and respite care provision for our children. Lean on others when you need to and be there to listen when they are struggling.

For together we are stronger.

1 comment:

Abandoned Wife said...

I was interested to read what you said about meeting other parents with children with special needs. There is definitely a sense of kinship when you establish that you are both fighting the same battles and dealing with the same problems.

I recently attended an opening at the house of an artist friend and was very attracted to a man I saw across the crowded room. We didn't speak, but I had a strong sense of recognition. Did I know him? I then fell into conversation with a pleasant woman who pointed him out as her husband. Apparently he has ADHD as does their 12 year old daughter. He is brilliantly successful and very unusual. The daughter is of course battling through the education system.

We spent most of the evening sharing experiences and there was such a strong bond there.