The Family Support Team at TCS is thrilled to have organized and implemented a support group for the parents of our students and participants. With three support groups in the books already we hope that, with enough interest, this can become a regularly scheduled occurrence. Support groups are held monthly on site at TCS, are free, optional, and facilitated by a licensed mental health professional.
The journey of parenting in any regard is a very individualized one, but there is something to be said about the shared experience of raising a child with special needs. Parents of children with special needs may face a lot of challenges and tough decisions over the years regarding the best care for their child. Some would say that it is of equal importance for parents to receive direct support for themselves; to find a support system away from the doctors and free from judgement. We hope to create a space for parents to come together to explore what they face day to day and validate the many feelings that could arise as a result. It is not a space to argue beliefs or judge choices, but a space to affirm everyone’s personal experience in a sensitive, non-judgemental manner.
I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate two of these groups, and I must say what a powerful experience it was to watch a group of parents come together and share their personal stories. Even though everyone’s journey was different, there were many expressed commonalities that appeared to aid parents in feeling less isolated and more connected. Common themes included the lack of support or understanding from friends and extended family, differences in family dynamics, strategies to support siblings of special needs children and young adults, and when/how to disclose that your child has received a diagnosis.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to grow and learn from one another.
– Mari Burke