Their Voice: Resources available for parents of young children with disabilities

December 16, 2018

In her book “Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy”, author Julie Flygare says of her journey, “I didn’t want to upset my loved ones, but I couldn’t carry this alone.”

Whatever our personal struggle is, this a great way to express that need we have to connect with others who share similar experiences.

All new parents can attest to the fact that from the moment of the announcement of a new child, advice comes flooding from all directions. Everyone around them loves to share their own experiences and tips for raising successful children. However, when that child is diagnosed with any type of disability, the fountain of aid quickly dries up as most people around cannot relate to the complex needs that are now part of everyday life.

Parents raising children with special needs understand the fact that the complexities of their new world is much more difficult to navigate. Not only do they deal with all of the emotions associated with their child’s diagnosis but they also have to learn how to adapt their entire world to ensure they do what is best for that child. In many cases, parents have no idea that there are resources for them or where to find them. When you are a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, these concerns can easily overshadow every aspect of your life. This is when, like Julie Flygare, parents realize they “can’t carry it alone” and hopefully begin to seek out other families in similar situations to interact with.

One such program is offered by Kids Who Count, an early intervention program for newborns to 3-year-olds throughout Nebo School District. For some time, Kids Who Count has been partnering with Karen Fairchild, LCSW, to create a support program for parents who are managing the challenges and opportunities that come with having a child with special needs. This group meets on Tuesday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Karen is a strong advocate for individuals with special needs and their families and has been supporting them for over 20 years with early intervention and behavioral strategies.

In addition to the ongoing family support group, Fairchild and Kids on the Move have created a 10-week course that will be facilitated by Jessica Paletta, parent and MSW student. The course will be presented at the Kids on the Move campus in Salem on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30 beginning January 8th. The curriculum of this course includes topics such as dealing with grief and stress, learning methods of self-care, mindfulness and gratitude.

Both the ongoing support group and 10-week course are free of charge and there is limited child care available. To learn more about this program, contact Melanie or Holly at 801-423-3000.

There is nothing that provides more comfort than finding peers who understand your challenges and can relate with your emotions. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, this resource could be what you need to find your own community of support.

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